The Sacrament Of Baptism

 

Baptism opens the gate to a new life

That is not oppressed by the weight of a negative past,

And has the taste of the beauty and goodness

Of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Pope Francis) 

 

The final scene in the Gospel according to Matthew takes place in the Galilee, in northern Israel.  The risen Christ had asked that his disciples meet him there.  There, he gives them his final message, in which he sends them out throughout the world, to spread his teachings, make new disciples, and baptize them « in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ». (Mt 28,19)

Since then, baptism has become the sacred rite through which we enter the community of the disciples of Jesus.

Jesus himself had been baptized – immersed in water – before starting to preach his gospel.  It’s at that moment that his deep identity was revealed, as a voice from Heaven was heard saying: « This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him. » (Mt 3,17)  And it was then that the Holy Spirit descended on him, and remained there.

Likewise, for us today, baptism signifies and establishes us in a network of relationships that gives us a new identity.  We become brothers and sisters of Jesus; with him, we become the adopted children of God, our Father; through him, we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us to all the members of the Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Baptism is thus the beginning of a new life, a spiritual life, a life of involvement, a life made of faith, hope, and love.

 

Parents can request baptism for their small child.  The Church then requires only one condition: that there is a reasonable hope that this child will grow up in the Christian faith.  In other words, his parents, godfather and/or godmother must show a willingness and an ability to make Jesus known to their child when he’ll be older, to help him love and imitate Jesus.  That’s why the Christian community offers the parents some preparatory sessions: it is important that they perfectly understand the meaning of what they are asking for, the ritual that they will be celebrating, and the involvement it entails.

For more information on the baptism of small children, please click here.

 

Older children, teenagers, and adults can request baptism for themselves.  In that case, the Christian community will accompany the candidates on a journey that will help them really develop a living relationship with Jesus and with their brothers and sisters in the Church.  This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the RCIA (or, in the case of older children, the Rite of Christian Initiation of School-Age Children - the RCISAC).

For more information on the RCIA, please click here.

For more information on the RCISAC, please click here.

To get a full list of the parishes, you can consult the Diocese of Gatineau’s website, and click on the tab: Find a parish