This is the sacrament of celebrating our entry into the community of the Church. Among different symbolic actions the pouring of water over our heads or our full immersion in the water reminds us of Christ’s own baptism in which he received the gift of the Holy Spirit to carry out his mission of proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. As the water cleanses us it proclaims the new life of the Holy Spirit in each of us, the life we hope to live out through the great commandments of loving God and our neighbour.
The Baptism of children
It has long been the custom of the Church to welcome children into its family through Baptism as the earliest age. Here at Christ the King we ask parents to make an appointment to see either Fr John or Deacon Keith to discuss how best to prepare and celebrate the sacrament. The discussion will deal with practical details such as suitable dates and the subject of godparents and their role but will also look at what the parents promise when they take part in the sacrament. There will also be a rehearsal just before the Baptism itself. Godparents and other close members of the family may like to attend the rehearsal, so that everyone feels at ease with the ceremony, and responsibilities for readings and other aspects of the service may be established.
The Baptism of children will normally take place either during the Sunday Mass at 11am or more privately on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon, the time being fixed to suit all concerned.
Anyone wishing for a certificate of Baptism from Christ the King (e.g. for admission to a Catholic School or for the conferring of another sacrament such as Confirmation or Matrimony) is asked to download the application form here and return it with a SAE to Fr John Guest.
In a case of an emergency, e.g. a serious illness or fear of dying, please contact the parish clergy by the swiftest means possible, and they will administer the sacrament of Baptism immediately. Remember that it is also possible for any lay member of the Church to administer the sacrament in such circumstances by pouring water over the head while saying the words: “N………I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of adults
Adults wishing to be baptised or received into the Church are asked to make contact with either Fr. John or Deacon Keith in the usual way. They will then be usually asked to take a course of enquiry into the Catholic Faith. This course is called the RCIA (the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults). In our case we ask enquirers to follow the course put on by the nearby St. Mary’s Church, Bridge Gate, Derby. This takes place on Monday evenings from 7pm, beginning in September each year and working through to the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism or reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil during the following year. Enquirers may take longer if they wish, but the course involves not just sessions of learning and reflection but also little rituals on the way which prepare each person for the final step taken at Easter. These will take place in Christ the King, as will the final stage of the journey, the only exception being the Rite of Election, which is held at 3pm at the Cathedral of St. Barnabas in Nottingham on the First Sunday of Lent. All candidates throughout the Diocese of Nottingham are invited to attend this occasion in order to meet the Bishop of Nottingham and write their names in the Book of the Elect. Each candidate is accompanied on their journey by a sponsor, a companion in faith chosen either by themselves or offered by the parish community.