Sacrament of Baptism:
Baptisms are scheduled on the second full weekend of each month. Parent(s) must be registered parishioners and are required to attend a Preparation Session preferably before birth of child. Please call the parish office for more information.
You Have Asked to Have Your Child Baptized:
An Invitation to a Life of Faith
A Note from Our Pastor
Congratulations on the birth or expectation of your child! Be assured that you and your child will share in our prayers — may Almighty God richly bless you with joy and good health as you celebrate his gift of new life.
We are delighted that you have approached our parish to begin the preparations for your child’s baptism. We eagerly look forward to working with you to prepare for this moment of grace and joy for your child and your entire family.
You may be surprised to learn that the preparations for your child’s baptism begin with you. As you know, the church encourages all her members to lead a life of faith for their own spiritual well-being; such a life includes, among other things, regular times of prayer both at home and in church, reception of the sacraments, works of charity, and striving to make the teaching and example of Jesus Christ manifest in your own daily living.
While we encourage such a lifestyle for all our members, we place a special emphasis on the Christian lifestyle of those blessed with the awesome, God-given call of parenthood; in this special role, your practice of the faith either fosters or hinders your child’s relationship with his or her Heavenly Father. The sacred trust involved in recognizing that your beloved child is also God’s beloved child, and in raising him or her accordingly is so important and so significant, that we invite you take some time to consider how you might best prepare to fulfill this trust.
Below are a series of questions that we would ask you to reflect upon. Our experience with many families suggests that the answers to these questions are a good indicator of whether your son or daughter will be raised in surroundings which are wonderfully filled with or sadly devoid of God’s presence. If you find the answers to these questions to be encouraging, then please accept our sincere thanks for the Christian lifestyle you have been leading; you are the people who work day by day to make our world a more Christlike place. If the answers to these questions suggest a need for some changes, then please take this pamphlet as a heartfelt invitation — your practice of the faith means so much to us and will matter tremendously to your child. If our families, our communities, and our world are to become better, more Christlike places, it will only be because people like yourselves have taken the concrete steps necessary to make a difference.
Please accept this invitation in the spirit in which it is intended. Like you, we want the very best for your child — the best in every dimension of his or her life. Our particular responsibility as the church is to encourage the best for your child in the ways of faith. We recognize the awesome responsibility that has been laid upon your shoulders as parents. We are always ready to help, support, and encourage you to meet those responsibilities in such a manner as to provide your child with the best possible opportunity to know, love, and serve the God of all creation.
May God bless you now and always,
Rev. Msgr. John N. Fell
Some questions to think about, pray over, and discuss . . .
- God asks us to love him with our whole mind, our whole heart, and all our strength. How good is your own relationship with the Lord? Do you pray often? Do you regularly offer God praise and thanksgiving by actively participating in the mass and receiving the sacraments? Do you seek God’s guidance as you ponder over key decisions? Is your relationship with the Lord a real part of your life, or has it become just a slogan, just part of your cultural background without any real meaning in your daily living?
- God asks us to love all people as he loves them. How do you treat those closest to you — your family members, co-workers, and friends? Are you patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving? After spending time with you, would others recognize you as an agent of God’s love? Do you reach out to help those in need? Beyond the support you give to family and friends, what do you do to improve the lives of others?
- God asks us to support the community he established to continue the teaching and ministry of Jesus throughout the ages, that is, the church. Do you regularly worship/participate at mass with this community? Do you regularly offer the gifts of your time, your talent, and your treasure to support the ministries of the Christian community?
- Finally, if your son/daughter were to follow you around for a day, what would they learn about you? About your faith? About Jesus? How might you be a better teacher or example?
You see, unless you have your own faith life in order, you will never be able to pass that faith on to your child. Unless you live a life in imitation of Jesus Christ and in support of his church, you will not be able to pass this wonderful treasure on to your daughter or son.
We truly want the best for your child — the best possible examples of Jesus Christ in his or her life. We want to pass on to your child a faith that is a beacon throughout life, a faith that lights the way through a life filled with joy, peace, and contentment, a hope that inspires him or her to trust in God and his offer of eternal life, and a love that beautifies and enriches every rela-tionship, every moment of his or her life.
Your child’s baptism can be the beginning of this wonderful life of grace — or it can be a missed opportunity. Please accept this invitation to be the instrument that God uses to love and nurture the child that he has entrusted to your care. Being a Christian parent involves much more than simply being a “nice person” or “doting parent” in society’s terms — it means being a “nice person” or “doting parent” plus. That “plus,” the plus of a lived, practiced faith makes all the difference.
And so . . .
If your faith makes you ready to accept the responsibility of raising your child so as to make the most of his or her baptism, here are some details . . .
1.) What is baptism?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Baptism is “the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as [children] of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission . . .” (Par. 1213).
The effects of Baptism are as follows:
† We become a child and heir of God,
† We become a member of the universal Roman Catholic Church, the Diocese of
Metuchen, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish,
† We are forgiven of Original Sin, and
† The life of grace (living in accord with God’s special gifts of faith, hope, and love)
begins within us.
2.) When should baptism take place?
Parents are encouraged to ready their lives to provide the best possible context for their child’s baptism, and then to seek that baptism as early as possible.
3.) When are baptisms scheduled at the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH)?
The Sacrament of Baptism is administered at OLPH on the 2nd weekend of each month both on Saturday at 11 am and on Sunday at 1:30 pm; occasionally, certain parish observances or liturgical feasts necessitate a change in this schedule; the parish office or Pastor can inform you if this occurs on your particular date. All of these baptism ceremonies take place outside of mass. We also encourage families to consider having their children baptized during our Sunday masses; if you would like this, please speak to the Pastor during your Pre-Baptismal Meeting.
4.) Who is eligible to serve as a godparent?
From the information provided at the beginning of this booklet, it is clear that godparents must be stalwart examples of the fullness of Christian life. Godparents are representatives of the Church community meant to serve as role models of what it means to be a committed, practicing Catholic.
Each child must have one godparent. This godparent must be a practicing Catholic Christian who can obtain a certificate to that effect from his or her own parish. Forms for this purpose are included with this booklet; these certificates must be returned to the parish office as soon as possible and absolutely no later than one week before the baptism. In general, in order to be eligible to receive such a certificate and serve as a godparent, the church requires that the person meet all the following conditions:
† The person cannot be the actual parent of the child to be baptized (grandparents are
† The person must be at least 14 years old, and must have themselves received the
Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation.
† The person must regularly participate in mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation,
† If married, the person’s marriage must be recognized by the Catholic Church.
The child to be baptized may also have a second godparent. This second godparent may be another practicing Roman Catholic Christian who fulfills all the conditions listed above, or they may be a practicing Christian of another denomination (Christian witness) who can obtain a letter from their church stating that they are practicing members of that community
5.) Who will perform my child’s baptism?
Generally, one of the parish clergy (priests and deacons) will be scheduled to administer the sacrament. If you have a particular preference, you may speak about that at your Pre-Baptismal Meeting.
We also invite members of the Catholic clergy who are relatives or close friends of the child’s family to administer the Sacrament of Baptism here at OLPH. If this situation applies to you, please discuss this during your Pre-Baptismal Meeting.
6.) Is there a fee for my child’s baptism?
The church does not charge fees for the administration of the sacraments. This said, we do gratefully accept offerings from families who wish to share the joy of this occasion with the wider Christian community. An envelope for this purpose is available; when families ask us to suggest an appropriate offering, we say $50, but any offering is gratefully accepted. Be assured that the clergy member who performs the baptism does not keep this offering — it goes into our general fund to support the charitable and educational efforts of our parish community.
7.) So, what’s next?
When you have read and prayed over the material in this booklet and feel that you are ready to approach the church for your child’s baptism, please contact the Parish Secretary at 908-766-0079, extension 0. She will arrange for one of the parish clergy to call you to schedule a Pre-Baptismal Meeting.
The Pre-Baptismal Meeting is a meeting of both parents (godparents are invited but not required to attend) with one of the members of our parish clergy. During this meeting, we will pray together, discuss the material contained at the beginning of this booklet, further discuss the meaning and rites of baptism, make particular arrangements, and answer any questions you may have. This meeting usually lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Children are certainly welcome to attend this meeting with their parents, but if a child’s attendance would preclude both parents’ full attention and participation in this meeting, it is probably better to arrange for babysitting.
Parents Prayer Before the Birth of Their Child
Gracious Father, your word, spoken in love, created the human family, and, in the fullness of time, your Son, conceived in love, restored us to your friendship. Hear our prayers as we await the birth of our child. Calm our fears when we are anxious. Watch over and support us, and bring our child into this world safely and in good health, so that as a member of your family, (he/she) may praise you and glorify you through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord Jesus, who loved children, bless us and keep us in his love, now and forever. Amen.
Parents Prayer After the Birth of Their Child
Lord, our God, out of the speech of little children you have fashioned a hymn of praise. Look with kindness on our child whom we commend to your tender care. Your Son, born of the Virgin Mary, gladly welcomed little children. He took them in his arms, blessed them, and held them up as an example for all. We pray that you, Father, will also send your blessing upon our child, so that (he/ she) may grow in Christian maturity and never cease to praise you for the wonders of your mercy. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, may our beloved (son/daughter) become Christ’s witness in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
May the Lord Jesus, who loved children, bless us and keep us in his love, now and forever. Amen.
Published: 01 August 2004
First Revision: 01 July 2009
Second Revision: 10 November 2012
Third Revision: 03 June 2013