“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his or her transformation in Christ.
Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with God’s will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism. The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his or her head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship. Because of the character, Baptism cannot be repeated.
What does the sacrament do? Well, baptismal grace is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original and all personal sins, making the person an adoptive child of the Father, a member of Christ’s body, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact, the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in His priesthood.
As Catholics, and since the earliest times, Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit. Also, in case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that the person has the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that the person pours water on the candidate’s head while saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Infant Baptism at St. Margaret
Interested in having your child baptized at St. Margret? Here’s what you have to do!
- Complete the Baptism Preparation Form and return this to the Parish Office. Be sure to include your requested date of baptism on the form! Baptisms are normatively held at any of St. Margaret’s parochial Masses (Saturday 4:00PM; Sunday 8:00AM, 10:00AM, and 5:30PM) except during the Lenten season. Sponsor forms should also be returned at this time.
- Once the packet arrives at the Parish Office and a staff member assures that everything is complete, a member of the Baptism Preparation Ministry Team will contact you to arrange a home visit at your home. Parents and Sponsors should all be present for the visit. If a Sponsor is unable to attend the home visit, he/she must attend a Baptismal Seminar either at St. Margaret or at his/her home parish.
- A member of the Parish Staff will call you after the visit from the Baptism Preparation Ministry Team to confirm the date of your child’s Baptism.
- When the special day arrives, a pew will be reserved for your family at St. Margaret Church or St. Thomas Chapel, and your son/daughter will be welcomed into our community of faith through the saving waters of grace!
Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply into Christ while strengthening our bond with the Church. Reception of the sacrament associates us more closely with her mission and helps us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds. Like Baptism, Confirmation imprints an indelible character on the Christian’s soul; thus a person can only receive this sacrament once.
As Roman Catholics, this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has been reached; in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, this is typically during the 11th grade year of high school. The celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop – signifying the strengthening of the ecclesial bond. Candidates must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ.
Essentially, when one is confirmed, they are anointed on the forehead with sacred chrism; the minister lays his hand and the words “Be sealed with the Gift o the Holy Spirit” are uttered. When celebrated separately from baptism, the renewal of baptismal promises occurs.
Confirmation for St. Margaret Students
Due to a host of pastoral considerations, the pastors of the rural parishes of the Northeast Deanery (St. Helena in Amite, Mater Dolorosa in Independence, Our Lady of Pompeii in Tickfaw, St. Margaret in Albany, and St. Joseph in Ponchatoula) petitioned the bishop to facilitate a joint celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation annually. A joint celebration is annually held at Holy Ghost in Hammond on a date that is mutually agreeable with both the Bishop’s Office and with the representative parishes, usually in late April. Religious instruction continues to take place individually at each parish, however. The parishes only collaborate in the sacramental celebration and for their annual confirmation retreat.
From the perspective of religious instruction at St. Margaret, there is an advantage of hosting an annual celebration. All students will be required to attend eleventh grade PSR instruction in order to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring of their junior year of high school; this model provides greater opportunities for advanced instruction, vocational discernment, peer ministry, and liturgical participation.