Welcome all Parents and Teachers!

Welcome all Parents and Teachers!
Homegrown Catholics is an excellent resource for religious education teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. Here you'll see all my lesson plans and project ideas on many Catholic subjects as well as school topics. If you would like to read about my adventures as a Home Educator, click on the St. Brigid's Academy tab above.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing for Baptism


Baptisms and First Holy Communions are such special events, modernly set aside as more intimate occasions than big weddings. None the less, they are Sacraments which hold special value in our lives. I want to witness to family and community that we believe in the equal beauty of ALL Sacraments of the Catholic Church. A Baptism IS a big deal, and takes proper planning and grandeur reception I think. While a tired mom and dad to a newborn won't be inviting 200 people and spending thousands on the occasion, it can still be made special with proper planning. While preparing for our son's Baptism, we decided to have everything a little more formal. I'd like to share our ideas with you to consider or admire. :-)

The Presentation
The Presentation

The Baptism in the River Jordan
St. John the Baptist baptizes Jesus!

The Invitation
Baptism Invite Sample - Page 001Baptism Invite Sample - Page 002
Text Outside: A Baptism Celebration, [Child's Full Name]
Text Inside:
Come celebrate  the Baptism of our [son/daughter]
[Child's Full Name]
on [Date]
Promptly arrive at [Time]
at [Place]
Refreshments following the ceremony will be at
[Location & Address]
Please RSVP [Phone/Email]
Parents: [Names]
Godparents: [Names]

Who to invite?
  We choose to include parents, siblings, godparents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles for certain. Anyone who is significant in the life of this child should be there, and anyone you very much want to be a witness to! Perhaps your funds are larger than ours, and you could include close friends and neighbors?

Choosing Godparents

AmericanCatholic.org says: "When it comes to infant Baptism, godparents are to assist the child's parents in raising their child in our Catholic faith, so that the child may profess and live it as an adult… choose a firm believer, someone who is truly committed to the Catholic faith in which their new baby will be baptized." (Click here for more)

CatholicEducation.org: The Role of Godparents. "To be a sponsor, a person must be chosen by the person to be baptized, or by the parents or guardians of a child, or, in their absence, by the pastor or minister of the sacrament. The sponsor must not only have the intention of being a sponsor but also meet proper qualifications. He must be [at least 16 and] 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 undertaken.' Moreover, the sponsor cannot be impeded by some canonical penalty. Ideally, this sponsor at baptism should also be the sponsor for confirmation. 
  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 disqualifies himself from being a godparent. Moreover, if a person is Catholic but antagonistic to the faith, i.e. has the attitude "I am a Catholic but...," and would not be a good example and witness to the faith also disqualifies himself. If a person is not striving to fulfill his own obligations of baptism and confirmation, he will not fulfill the responsibilities of helping another to do so. "   (Click Here for more)

Godparent Certificate from Parents (Link to Printable Download)
- Add photo after Baptism and send with thank you note, or present on the day and send 3x5/4x6 photo later.
Godparent Certificate poem Godparent Certificate form

Godparent Gift Ideas:
"The Godparent Book" by Elaine Ramshaw - The Godparent Book provides you with hundreds of ideas to help build a solid, faith-based relationship with your godchild by sharing memories, thoughts, values, prayers and the ordinary and extraordinary seasons of the Christian life.

Being a Godparent Book
"Being a Godparent" by Patrick Gallagher - Both inspirational and informative, this booklet celebrates the honor and responsibility that come with being a godparent. A godparent a valuable guide for those who want a deeper understanding of this role, along with what role a godparent has at baptism. This book emphasizes nourishing the new life received in baptism, as well as the importance of setting an example of Christian living. Arranged in an easy-to-read format, the gift of sharing in the growth of a child's faith is described and the tradition of being a godparent is explained.

The cleansing waters of Baptism theme inspired me to buy this for them…

I'd love to hear any suggestions or links you may have for Godparents and gifts!

The Baptismal Gown
Choosing a gown or other outfit for an infant baptism is certainly based on personal preference and finances. Read more about the one I designed and have sewn, as well as others my children have worn [at this link].
 Edwards Baptism Gown by Mommy
*Of course, don't forget to take pictures. I wish I had professional pictures for each child's baptism instead of just the one.

The Baptism Ritual

We've always had a private baptism with my dad, the Deacon, godparents and immediate family. This time around we're in a new parish that celebrates in a beautiful, traditional ceremony we didn't want to miss out on. Dad still will be baptizing our youngest, but we'll truly be with our church community. Including music and other traditions I've never witnessed such as having a "special person" holding baby during the readings then presenting him to the parents, or baby entering in street clothes, undressing down to diaper, then gowning up after baptizing in water. We were so excited.

Our special person holds our child at first, then brings him or her in when called in by name. Shortly after it is time to bless the holy water and then the children. What an exciting time for everyone there. All babies are born with original sin, so what a beautiful gift God gave us with Baptism to fill our children with soul-cleansing grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit!

The parents and godparents take the newly baptised child to be dressed in their gown (or white outfit or cloth)  to symbolize their being clothed in Christ, pure white without original sin.

The child is annointed and blessed. Then the parents are also blessed along with the godparents.

Oh so long ago it seems.
Their candle can be lit on the anniversary of their Baptism, on their birthdays, at future sacraments such as First Communion, and it can be the candle they use with their spouses' to lite their wedding unity candle.

Take pictures of your child with EVERYONE who attended. You'll be glad you took the time. I've had a lot of experience with this, and someone can really feel left out if not included in the pictures. Take a group photo if time constraints. Include the priest or deacon who baptized your child too!

Deacon Papa!

The Reception
Decor - from Party City

Food - since we're hosting in the afternoon we're having appetizers and a dessert. Hydrangea Cupcakes2
Hydrangea Cupcakes by Glorious Treats
 *Search images for "Hydrangea Cupcakes" to see beautiful display varieties. Mine did not turn out as hoped, but they were pretty and delicious!

  > Christian Cupcake paper cups at CatholicSupply.com are cute!

I could get ambitious and make edible White Doves - Jordan Almond Birds by TheKitchn.com

Party Favors

>What we have:
Baptism Prayer CardBaptism Thank You
  - Mini Prayer Cards (click image to print)
Father in Heaven,
when the Spirit came down upon Jesus
at His Baptism in the Jordan,
You revealed Him as Your own Beloved Son.
Keep me, Your child,
born of water and the Spirit,
faithful to my calling.
May I, who share in Your Life
as Your child through Baptism,
follow in Christ's path of service to people.
Let me become one in His Sacrifice
and hear His Word with faith.
May I live as Your child,
following the example of Jesus. Amen.

 - A cleansing theme to go with the waters of Baptism. Bath and Body Works "Bee Good" and "Bee Nice" PocketBac hand sanitizers, wrapped in tulle/netting with pastel M&Ms. Party City's Blue Ribbon and Cross Favor Ties.
pocketbac beegood MMscross favor ties

>More Ideas for you…
  -Themed for the Chrism Oil, give Lip Balm Favors labeled with name and date of baptism.

-Seed Crosses item#16080 for $1ea at CatholicSupply.com

- We have Easter M&M snack packs with Mini Bubbles for children's guest gifts. Along with coloring sheets (seen below). I might go back for these kits…

Unique Baptism Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for the Parents:  (2 of my favorite books)
domesticchurchhomegrown faith
"The Domestic Church: Room by Room" by Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle.
"Homegrown Faith: Nurturing Your Catholic Faith" by Heidi Bratton

Gifts for Baby:
Baptism Gift Plate
Guests Sign-in Plate for Child

Name Wallhanging
Child's Name Wall Hanging

Baptism SackBaptism Sack2
My Baptism Sack - an Older Child's Baptism Gift $9 by Pioneer Party and Gift

My Baptism Book
"My Baptism Book" by Sophie Piper - Includes prayers that are easy to commit to memory and to say at bedtime, along with very simply expressed statements of Christian belief that are appropriate for the youngest of children. The message of My Baptism Book is one of God's eternal love and care. For ages 0-8.

"Can God See Me In The Dark" by Neal Lozano - When Anna goes to sleep overnight at her grandparents' house for the very first time, she is afraid of the dark, but her grandfather explains that Jesus is with her even when she cannot see, which makes her feel better.
"Will You Bless Me" by Neal Lozano - A sneeze from young Anna and her father's casual "bless you" lead to a memorable discovery about true blessing. On the way to their discovery, father and daughter read a story about the boyhood life of Jesus, as he joyfully experiences a blessing while asking his mother to tell the story of his birth. Through the gentle stories of Anna and Jesus, Will You Bless Me? instructs parents in the simple and beautiful process of speaking words of blessing into their children's hearts. And children will learn to desire and ask for these words of love and hope.
"What Can I Give God" by Neal Lozano - During a birthday celebration with her family, Anna walks and talks with her grandmother in a sunflower-laden valley, and upon hearing the biblical story of a boy sharing his loaves and fish with Jesus, Anna realizes that the best gifts are those we can give back to God.
Other Book Titles: "Water, Come Down!" by Walter Wangerin. "God Gave Us You" by Lisa Tawn Bergren. "God Makes Me His Child in Baptism" by Janet Wittenback. "Angel in the Waters" by Regina Doman.

And finally, for families like ours...

Keeping Children Busy at Church or Reception

If little children will be at the Baptism, keep them involved. My dad, the Deacon, makes a point to include our children in this exciting experience, especially if they are a sibling of the baptized child. Let them touch the holy water, showing them how to make the sign of the cross. Let them stand near where they can see and watch. Let them make the sign of the cross on the babies forehead too. "Let the children come to me" Jesus said.
For those who need a little something more, especially with a long line of families awaiting their turn....
Peace Begins with Me
Baptism ChildrenBaptism ChildrenBaptismMom and Bassinetbaptism_19children of godconference-coloring-three-2Familyjoyful_mysteries_for_kids_1

Found various sources via Google Images "Baptism Coloring Pages" and "Precious Moments."

What have you done for a Baptism, or what have you witnessed?

1 comment:

noreen said...

Hi Melissa,

It's been almost 12 years since my son was baptized and I know I didn't plan and prepare as well as you did! Your party will be a wonderful celebration for all of your guests no matter their age! Easter blessings to you and your family!