Theology of the Sacrament of Baptism
In his dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus taught that Baptism was necessary for salvation. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). After his Resurrection, Jesus met with the eleven Apostles and gave them the commission to preach the Gospel and baptize, telling them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16).
The word baptism in its origins is Greek and means “immersion” and “bath.” Immersion in water is a sign of death and emersion out of the water means new life. To bathe in water is also to undergo cleansing. Saint Paul sums up this truth when he says, “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12).
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. “He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake . . . to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water” (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Liturgy of the Hours, I, 634).
Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father.
By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin—Original and actual—and begin to live a new life with God.
Schedule the Sacrament of Holy Baptism
Parents wishing to have a child (7 and under) baptized must be registered and active parishioners for a minimum of three (3) months prior to the date of baptism and are required to attend a Baptism Preparation Class prior to setting a date.
Baptism Requirements for children under 7yrs. old only:
- Parents/Godparents must registered in the Parish for at least 6 months, non-parishioners provide a Pastor’s permission to have their child baptize/serve as Godparents outside home parish.
- Parents are required to provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
- Parents/Godparents must attend a baptismal preparation class.
- Godparents must be Catholics, 16 yrs. old and over, have received all three Sacraments of Initiation. (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion)
- If single, Godparent cannot be living with a partner, must be in good standing with the church.
- If married, Godparents will submit a copy of Church’s Marriage Certificate.
- Children 7yrs. old and up need two years of religious education (PRE).
- Baptism is usually celebrated at Easter Vigil.
Please call the Church Office at (901) 276-1412 with any questions or to schedule a child’s baptism.
Information on Godparents
The role of a godparent is a significant aspect of the Sacrament. Godparents should be chosen carefully for their visible witness to the Catholic faith and the example they will provide to the person being baptized. To qualify as either a godparent or a confirmation sponsor, a person must be a practicing Catholic who is at least 16 years of age. He or she must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The person must be living a life in harmony with the faith. If the person is married, their marriage must be valid according to the norms of the Church. If the person is single, they should be practicing chastity. For godparents/sponsors who are members of a parish other than St. Theresa , a letter from their pastor confirming their eligibility to be a godparent/sponsor must be presented.