A general definition for the word baptism is “a rite of washing with water as a sign of religious purification and consecration.” This rite was practiced frequently in the Old Testament. It signified purity or cleansing from sin and devotion to God. Since baptism was first instituted in the Old Testament many have practiced it as a tradition yet have not fully understood its significance and meaning.
In the New Testament, the significance of baptism is seen more clearly. John the Baptist was sent by God to spread the news of the coming Messiah—Jesus Christ. John was directed by God (John 1:33) to baptize those who accepted his message. John’s baptizing is called “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4 (NIV). Those baptized by John acknowledged their sins and professed their faith that through the coming Messiah they would be forgiven. Baptism then is significant in that it represents the forgiveness and cleansing from sin that comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
For Roman Catholics it is a public act of initiation into the Church and the beginning of a process of participating in the activity of the Faith community we call parish. Therefore it is a public ceremony which involves the participation of the community.
If you’d like to know more about the importance of Baptism and your own faith journey have a look at this item from the archdiocese of Toronto:
Booking: Please contact the parish office (8774 0221) at least ONE MONTH before the baptism.
Baptism Ceremony: The baptism Ceremony takes place on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each Month in Holy Family church at 1.00p.m. and the 3rd Sunday of each Month in St. Mary’s Stewartstown after the 10.30a.m. Mass. Baptisms outside these times will only be performed in emergency or exceptional circumstances.
In 2017 the parishes of the pastoral area (Ardboe, Clonoe and Coalisland) engaged in a process of training the baptismal teams for each parish. The training of the new and in our own case, current members of the baptismal teams was facilitated in St. Mary’s hall in Stewartstown by two pastoral workers from the diocese.
One change that will take place henceforth is that the teams will no longer go to visit the families in their homes prior to the baptism ceremony. However on the Wednesday evening before the baptism takes place, a meeting will take place in the O’Brien room. This meeting will be for parents and godparents of candidates who are due to be baptized in either Holy Family or St. Mary’s, Stewartstown. At this meeting each family will be given an outline of the service, instructed on the meaning of the sacrament and also presented with a special candle that can be used at baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. The meetings will be led by Deacon Malachy (baptismal team co-ordinator) and members of the baptismal team.
Bookings for baptism must be made 1 month in advance through the parish office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10.00am and 4.00p.m. or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.