What is Baptism?

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life with God. It is the first and foundational sacrament of the Church and the path by which we are given access to the other sacraments, namely: Confirmation, the Most Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. Each sacrament is constituted by a visible, material reality through which an invisible, spiritual reality is communicated to the soul. The material and visible elements of Baptism are the pouring of water together with the proclamation of the words: “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” These visible, material elements communicate to the soul the spiritual, invisible effects of Baptism: (i) the forgiveness of Original and personal sin, (ii) the gift of God’s own life (grace), (iii) access to life in the Church. Baptism causes the soul to be spiritually born into life with God, just as our natural birth causes us to be born into earthly life. The Lord Jesus himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation, when he declares (Jn 3:3-6): “I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

From antiquity, the Catholic Church has baptised not only adults but also infant children. Just as parents have a duty to provide for the many physical and material needs of their children from infancy, so Catholic parents have a duty to provide for the spiritual needs of their children by having them baptised and actively raising them in the Catholic faith. As the Youth Catechism explains: “It is an injustice to deprive a child of Baptism out of a mistaken liberality. One does not deprive a child of love so that he can later decide on love for himself; so too it would be an injustice if believing parents were to deprive their child of God’s grace in Baptism. Just as every person is born with the ability to speak yet must learn a language, so too every person is born with the capacity to believe but must become acquainted with God and the faith.”

When is Baptism offered?

The Sacrament of Baptism is offered at St Anthony’s at Midday on the first and third Sundays of the month. We require at least two months notice before a Baptism. To book a date for the Baptism of your child, contact the Parish Office. Whilst we will do our best to accomodate your requested date, we cannot guarantee that your first preference will be available. When booking a Baptism date, you will be directed to complete a Baptism Registration Form and to register for a Baptism Preparation Seminar. Information about the preparation required for Baptism is available below.

What preparation is required for Baptism?

In asking to have their child baptised, parents and godparents assume the privelidge and responsibility of raising their children to live the Catholic faith. The parish of Saint Anthony’s, together with the whole Church, is here to support families with the information, resources and encouragement that is needed in order to raise a child in the faith. One of the key ways to prepare for the Baptism of your child is by attending one of our Baptism Preparation Seminars.

Our Baptism Preparation Seminars cover three key topics:

  1. What is Baptism?
  2. The Rite of Baptism
  3. Raising my child as a Catholic

All parents and godparents must register to attend one of our Baptism Preparation Seminars prior to the day of Baptism. So that you can give our presenters your full attention, we request that you arrange care for your children while you attend the seminar. The Baptism Preparation Seminars are held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6.30pm – 8.00pm. The venue of the seminars alternates from month to month between the Foyer Meeting Room at St Anthony’s, Melton South and the Parish Centre at St Bernard’s, Bacchus Marsh. Melton South families are welcome to attend a meeting at Bacchus Marsh if it is more convenient. To register, please contact St Anthony’s Parish Office by email or phone. Refer to the contact page of this website for office hours, online contact form, and office phone number.

A completed Baptism Registration Form (available for download at the bottom of this page) together with a copy of the child’s birth certificate must be submitted (by email or in person) to the Parish Office before the Baptism Preparation Seminar and at least two months prior to the proposed date of Baptism. A $15 payment (cash or card) will be collected at the Seminar to cover the cost of a Baptism Stole and other requisite resources. You will also need to purchase a Baptism Candle. We have some available through the Parish Office; otherwise we recommend the candles available at Handmade by Fiona (www.handmadebyfiona.com).

These are the 2021 dates for our Baptism Preparation Seminars:

Baptism Preparation Meetings for 2021

St Anthony’s Church Foyer, Melton South St Bernard’s Parish Centre, Bacchus Marsh
Thursday, 28th January Thursday, 25th February
Thursday, 25th March Thursday, 22nd April
Thursday, 27th May Thursday, 24th June
Thursday, 22nd July Thursday, 26th August
Thursday, 23rd September Thursday, 28th October
Thursday, 25th November No meeting in December

Godparents

Godparents form a spiritual relationship with their godchildren through Baptism. They share their own faith and encourage their godchildren to live a life of holiness. During the ceremony, godparents make solemn promises before God and the Church to honour their own Baptism and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Your child may have a maximum of two godparents (one male and one female). Godparents must be baptized practicing Catholics. At the discretion of the priest, and as long as there is one Catholic godparent, a person baptized in another Christian Church may be permitted to act as a Christian Witness in place of the second godparent. Non-Christian persons cannot be godparents.

What happens on the day?

Parents and godparents are required to attend a Welcome Mass prior to the Baptism so that your child can be presented to our community. Welcome Masses are scheduled at 10:30am on the first and third Sundays of the month at St Anthony’s. Please arrive and make yourself known to the priest at least twenty minutes before Mass begins. The priest can usually be found in the Sacristy, the small room  on the left as you enter the foyer. During Mass please sit near the front of the church so you can be easily called forward at the appropriate time.

You will receive a Baptism Donation Envelope at the Preparation Meeting. The donation supports the priest and parish in relation to the provision of the Sacrament of Baptism. The recommended donation is $100. Filled Baptism Donation Envelopes should be submitted to the priest at the Baptism.