Holy Cross Church Catford
Holy Cross Church Catford
Holy Cross Church Catford
Go to content
They are celebrated on Sundays after the 11.30am Mass ,following participation in a preparation course.
The new guidelines from the Archdiocese are available below.
The next course will be confirmed in the newsletter

Baptism Programme 2023:  Those who would like to baptise their children, please see Fr Antony during the Parish Surgery.  Queries to [email protected]

Parents and GodParents wishing to have their children baptised will need to provide a copy of catholicity, e.g. Baptism Certificate, Confirmation Certificate, First Holy Communion Certificate and/or Catholic Marriage Certificate .

Prerequisites for Sponsors of Baptism (Canon 874)
...The Sponsor must:
  1. have completed their 16th year of age , unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the priest has granted an exception for a just cause.
  2. be a catholic who had been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of The Eucharist and leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on.
  3. not be the father or mother of the one to be baptised.

§ A baptised person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism

The Sacramental Symbols of Baptism
  • Blessing and Invocation: The priest (or deacon) blesses the water using the sign of the cross. He invokes the Spirit of God to come onto the water and consecrate it. This makes it Holy so that the person being baptised will be; "born again of Water and the Spirit".

  • Profession of Faith: Baptism brings someone into the community of Christian People. We faithfully profess that we follow Christ by proclaiming the ancient Creed of the Church.

  • Baptism: The central and most important part of Baptism; Water. There is a threefold pouring over the person to be baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity; The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The newly bapised in now purified, saved, delivered from evil, set free and belongs to God.

  • Anoiting: Oil is used to sweeten,to strenghen and to render supple. The Church uses consecrated oil for this same purpose in Baptism. The oil is consecrated each year by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. The sign of the Cross is traced on the forehead of the newly baptised. They are now consecrated to the Lord.

  • White Garment: Being transformed through baptism, the White Garment is a sign of newness of life and being 'Clothed in Christ'.

  • Lighted Candle: During Baptisms, the Pschal Candle burns near the baptismal font. A symbols of the presence of the Risen Lord. A small candle is used to take a flame from the Paschal Candle and entrusted to the newly baptised person, through their godparents. As a community we pray the the flame of faith may be kept alive until the Lord comes again to call this and all children of light to join him and all the saints in his heavenly kingdom.

Symbols of the Baptism
  • Water: Water is the primary symbol of baptism. John the Baptist used water (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8a; Jn 1:33; 3:23), as did Jesus (Jn 3:22). Jesus is living water (Jn 4:10), and when Jesus died, the water that flowed from his pierced side serves as a wellspring of his life and grace (Jn 19:34). The usual method is infusion, for water to be poured over the head. Baptism can also be done by partial or full immersion. Water is a symbol of divine life, grace, new birth, growth, power, deliverance, cleansing and the covenant.
  • Oil: Oil is also a symbol of baptism, and two kinds are used. The Oil of the Catechumens is used after the prayer of exorcism and applied to the chest. It represents salvation as well as the strength and power that come from Christ our saviour. After the water has been poured, Sacred Chrism is used to anoint the crown of the head, and it represents salvation, participation in the priesthood of Christ, membership in the body of Christ and a share in eternal life.
  • Baptismal garment: The baptismal garment is either worn from the beginning of the ritual or given after pouring or immersion. It is an outward sign of the person’s Christian dignity. It also signifies that the person has become a new creation and has been clothed with Christ.
  • Candle: The baptismal candle is lit from the Easter Candle. The candle represents the risen Jesus, who is the light of the world (Jn 8:12). Jesus is the light that guides every baptized person. It also represents the flame of faith, which is to be kept burning brightly.

Want to Baptise your child?
1.    Make an appointment with Fr Antony
2.     Participate in the Baptism Preparation Course.
3.     Fix a date for the celebration of the sacrament.
4.     Receive the Baptism Certificate in any one of the following Sunday Masses.

Baptism Certificate Request
If you require a copy of a baptism certificate, you will need to fill out a form that  can be obtain from the Parish Office .
The role of the Godparent for Baptism is rooted in the role of the Sponsor in the Cathechumenate, which originated in the early church.

Recall that, until the year 313, the Church was under the persecution of the Roman Empire and had to be cautious in conducting its affairs so as to prevent pagan infiltration and persecution.
Also, until the Middles Ages, the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptiam, Holt Eucharst and Confirmation - were administered at the same time and as soons as possible. The role of the sponsor then was to attest to the integrity of the person, oftentimes an adult, seeking admission into the Church as well as to assist her/him during the catechumenate in preparing for these sacraments and in living a christian life. For infants, these sponsors would also make the Profession of Faith in the child's name and accept the responsibility of instructing the child in the faith, especially if the parents failed in the duty.
About the year 800 when infant baptism was truly the norm, these sponsors were called 'Godfather' or 'Godmaother', but the technical term remains Sponsor.

According to the Church Law:
"Insofar as possible, one to be baptised is to be given a sponsor who is to assist an adult in Christian initiation, or, together with the parents, to present an infant at baptism, and who will help the baptised to lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism, and to fulfil faithfully the obligations connected with it" (No. 872).

This statement clearly reflects the historical roots of the role of sponsor.
A sponsor must be chosen by the person to be baptised, or by the parents or guardians of a child. The sponsor must normally have completed their sixteenth year, S/he must be a Catholic who has received the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation, and 'leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be underaken." Moreover, the sponsor cannot be impeded by some canonical penalty. Ideally, this sponsor at baptism should also be the sponsor at Confirmation.

Please note: The mother and father of a child cannont serve as sponsors.
Strictly speaking, a person only needs one sponsor for baptism - male or female, but they may have two sponsors, one male and one female. Here the Code of Canon Law want to eliminate the pratice of having numerous sponsors, as has occured in some cultures.

Here we should pause to clarify who qualifies as a Catholic Godparent. A Catholic who does not practice the faith by regularly attending Mass or who is in an invalid marriage (e.g. not according to the Catholic Church) disqualifies herself/himself from being a godparent. Moreover, if a person is Catholic, but antagonnistic to the fatih, i.e. has the attitude "I am Catholic, but....,"and would not be a good example and witness to the faith also disqualifies herself/himself. If a person is not striving to fulfil his/her own obligations of baptism and confirmation, s/he will not fulfil the responsibilities of helping another do so.

Parents need to find good practicing Catholics for godparents. Good friends are also appropriate, but sometimes friendships wane, leaving the godchild without an active godparent. Godparents should be faithful individuals who are ready to accept the responsibility of being part of a godchild's life for the rest of his/her life. Be careful not to invire friends or family just because they are friends or family. E.g. One from the mother's side, one from the father's. For sure they may make wonderful aunts and uncles, but this in not what baptism is about. If your child were ill would you go to the auntie or the doctor? Would you go to the butcher, who is a wonderful butcher, or the doctor? Each person has a role, but in their own field. A sponsor has a role, which is different to a friend or relative.

What if someone would like to have a faithful Protestant friend as a sponsor? Technically, only Catholics can be godparents or sponsors. A Christian who is not a Catholic, whether Orthodox or Protestant, however, may be a 'Chrsitian Witness' to the baptism along with the Catholic godparent. The reason for this distinction and restriction is that the godparents not only is taking responsibility for the religious education and spiritual formation of the baptised person, but also is representing the Church, the community of faith, into which the person is being baptised. A Chrsitan who is not Catholic, although perhaps a very holy Christian, cannot fully attest to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Likewise, A Catholic can only be a Christian witness for someone who is baptised into another Christian Denomination.

So, you may have a 'Christian Witness', but it must be someone who can show that they are recognised by their own faith as a faithful Christian, e.g a letter from their pastor, plus, of course a godparent.

The notes below should be read by the parents, who should make sure that the godparents do so as well.

What are the responsibilities of a Godparent
A godparent is regarded as a patron saint on earth, who prays for the newly baptised, looks after them spiritually and gives them guidance.

The Catholic Church sees Baptism as an entry into the Kingdon of God, and entry into the Church
The role of the godparents is to:
      ♦    Assist the parents in their duty of bringing up the child in the Faith and practice of the Church
      ♦    Pray for their godchild
      ♦    Talk to the Godchild about God and encourage him/her in the Christian Faith.
      ♦    Lead him/her, by their example and the quality of life they lead, towards a Christian way of life.
♦    Encourage him/her in their membership of the local church.
      ♦    Help him/her to keep the promises made on their behalf at the Baptism Service until s/he can make these promises for themselves at Confirmation.

Note: The Church affirms the the parents have the Prime Role in bringing up their children in the Faith.
(This is brought out in the blessing for the Father at the conclusion of the Rite).

Godparents are to ASSIST.
There is a common misunderstanding that Godparents have a legal responsibility, e.g if anything happens to the parents. Their responsibility is only to assist the parents or guardians in the Faith.

Either the parents or godparents may hold the one to be baptised.
Godparents are to place a hand on or hold the one to be baptised at the moment of Baptism.
Often it is the Godfather who is asked to light the Baptismal Candle from the Easter Candle.

Copyright © Holy Cross Church - Catford 2022

Site created by AFAN
Back to content