In the first days of the Church, only adults who themselves asked for Baptism, were actually baptised. But over the years, as whole families became Christian, parents began to ask the Church for Baptism for their children too. This was done on the condition that the parents would bring up their children in the ways and practice of the Christian faith. And that situation hasn’t changed: children are still baptised on the condition that their parents will indeed be the “first and best teachers of their children in the ways of faith”.
At the start of the Baptism Ceremony you will be asked to state your intention of bringing your child up in the Catholic faith. For this reason we expect parents who are Catholics to be attending Sunday Mass regularly. Because if you are not already practicing your own faith, then we must ask why you want your child baptised in the first place: it doesn’t make much sense to ask us to baptise your child into the Christian community if you yourself don’t seem to value it very highly. And, in fact, it would make a mockery of the whole idea of Baptism.
As a Christian community, we encourage each other to grow in our relationship with Jesus. However, maybe your own growth in faith has been stunted by things out of your control, or by times of personal difficulty, or by a bad experience from the past. Maybe you’ve come across people in the Church who haven’t always lived up to the Gospel way of life and this has put you off. Or maybe you’ve simply decided to “have a rest” and just never got back into the practice of your faith. If that’s the case then why not let this time of preparation for your child’s Baptism become an opportunity for you to renew your own Christian faith and to make a fresh start. If you have any questions, or difficulties, or just want to talk things over, then now would be a good time. We’re here for you.
Or then again, maybe Jesus and the Christian way of life means absolutely nothing at all to you. Or perhaps, despite the words you’ll be asked to say, you have no intention of bringing up your child in the Christian way of faith and life. In which case, maybe you should ask yourself if it wouldn’t be better to delay your child’s Baptism for a while until such time as you can make those promises and keep them. It wouldn’t be very honest to have your child baptised under false pretences.