Preparing for the celebration of a sacrament is a time of joy and anticipation in the life of the Church and in the life of the family.
Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation – Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion) are the other two. Baptism leads the newly baptized person to the table of the Lord.
Weekly participation in the Sunday Mass is a valuable sign that a person is disposed to celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism and is open to the wonder and grace of God.
The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism initiates a person into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The sacraments are always actions of Christ because they make Christ present, in his dying and rising. Jesus is present in the sacraments by his power, in such a way that when someone baptises, Jesus himself baptises. And for those who take part in the celebration of a sacrament, they are a personal meeting with Christ.
Infants are baptized to welcome them into the Catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with. Original sin isn’t a personal sin of the child, but a sin transmitted from generation to generation. The grace of Baptism washes sin away and supports us in trying to live our lives following the path of Christ – the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The person who is baptised is also welcomed into the community of the wider family of Christ.
Belonging is important. From the moment of birth, children seek to belong. To know the faces, voices and touch of those we call mother and father is essential in the development of a child. The need to belong is not limited to our family.
When a person comes seeking Baptism into the life of the Church, he or she is asking to belong. Through the Sacrament of Baptism they are initiated into life in Christ and the Church.
Belonging to a parish community means that we want to gather each Sunday with our brothers and sisters in Christ to worship God.
Role of Godparents
As you begin to prepare for your child’s Baptism, you are invited to reflect on the role and selection of a godmother and godfather.
Before asking a relative or close friend to assume this role it is important to understand what our Church teaches.
- A godparent is to be at least 16 years of age and have celebrated the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist).
- The godparent is to be able and willing to enthusiastically profess his or her faith during the rite of Baptism and ready to model a Catholic Christian lifestyle.
- A child may have one or two godparents.
The godparent is to be a model, guide and witness for your child as he or she grows in faith.
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment." - Heb 6:1-2
The sacrament of Confirmation is normally celebrated in this diocese when children are in primary 4, after they have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and before they make their First Holy Communion. The necessary preparation is partly integrated into the R.E. syllabus in St Michael’s Primary School and partly carried out in four preparatory meetings in the Church hall in the weeks leading up to the celebration of the Sacrament. The latter is organised by Fr Bradburn and a team of catechists trained by the diocese and dates will be communicated well in advance.
"I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world." John 6:51
First Communion is the last of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Church and as such is a very solemn moment in the lives of our young people. It is a special event for the family as they see the child they have presented for Baptism and Confirmation complete the final stage of being ‘incorporated’ into Christ and the Church by receiving him “body, blood soul and divinity” during Mass.
First Communion is normally celebrated in this diocese when children are in primary 4, after they have celebrated the Sacraments of Confirmation and Reconciliation. The necessary preparation is partly integrated into the R.E. syllabus in St Michael’s Primary School and partly carried out in four preparatory meetings in the Church hall in the weeks leading up to the celebration of the Sacrament. The latter is organised by Fr Bradburn and a team of catechists trained by the diocese and dates will be communicated well in advance.
During Primary 3 and primary 4, it is a particularly important part of their preparation that children are brought to Mass on Sundays so that they truly become part of this worshipping community and deepen their understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. (The 11 a.m. Mass includes the Children’s Liturgy which is especially geared to their age group.) Obviously, for the sacrament to have its full effect, this participation should continue every Sunday afterwards.
Throughout the preparation, children should be encouraged to focus on the spiritual nature of their First Communion Day, and attire, gifts or celebrations should not overshadow the spiritual dimension.
Jesus said, "From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide. " Mark 10:6-9
Human love is a reflection of God’s love, and is blessed and consecrated by God in the Sacrament of Marriage.
If you have decided to marry, mention it at the end of Sunday Mass and arrangements will be made to begin the necessary preparations. This should be at least six months before the proposed date.
Preparations will include checking that both parties are free to marry in Church, as well as obtaining necessary dispensations if one party is not a Catholic. (If one person has been married before, this will need to be investigated. If one is not a Catholic, the Catholic upbringing of any children has to be assured.)
Church Law requires that couples be adequately prepared for marriage, and this preparation can take a variety of forms. It usually focuses on the nature and complexities of the married relationship and allows the couple to look at issues they might not have discussed. It will also cover the Church’s teaching on marriage.
The Church documentation for the wedding will require that if you were baptised elsewhere, you will need to obtain a new Certificate of Baptism (dated within the six months prior to the wedding) from the parish in which you were baptised. We can help find addresses or phone numbers if needed.
Civil Law requires that you contact the local Registrar to provide the Marriage Schedule for the wedding, without which no wedding ceremony can take place.
To avoid errors, Orders of Service should not be printed before consulting the priest and the organist.
"There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too" John 14:2:3
A Catholic funeral commends the deceased to God, re-affirms our faith in the Resurrection, and provides hope and support to the grieving.
Our principal prayer for the deceased is the Mass, which makes present for us Christ’s own death on the cross as a sacrifice to wipe away our sins. We take solace in the word of Sacred Scripture, give thanks for Christ's victory over sin and death and celebrate the Eucharist, sharing in the “bread of eternal life”.
The funeral rites conclude with the Rite of Committal at the cemetery or crematorium. It consists of a brief Scripture reading, a prayer over the place of committal, intercessions, the Our Father, concluding prayer and a prayer over the mourners.
There may also be a “Reception and Vigil” the night before (or the deceased may simply be brought into the Church at the beginning of Mass). The Vigil consists of Scripture readings, a short litany, the Lord's Prayer, concluding prayer and blessing.
The parish also has a “Bereavement Group” which contacts families after a funeral to let them know that the community is still thinking about them and praying for them. It also arranges an annual memorial Mass in November for those whose funerals have taken place here during the previous twelve months and will invite you nearer the time.
The clergy should be notified promptly by telephone (01389 762 709) when someone in the parish dies to allow arrangements to be made smoothly. (He should also be consulted before any order of service is prepared.)
There is no fee for a funeral service but most families make a donation towards the upkeep of the church and the clergy. Organists and cantors add to the dignity of the occasion and should be shown suitable appreciation.