Baptism



To register your child for Baptism, please call the Parish Office (619) 427-0230

If you are interested in Adult Baptism, please visit RCIA page.

Why is it necessary to be baptized?

God’s Communion Wish

On the night before he died, Jesus prayed to the Father. He prayed for himself. He prayed for his disciples. He prayed for all believers. This was his prayer:

“I do not pray for these [disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; ‘that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us …” John 17

This was his prayer and wish from the beginning of time. As the Gospel of John proclaims, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and:

“He was in the beginning with God.” John 1

We know that in the beginning, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. There was a perfect communion between God and humanity just as there is a perfect Communion in the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“...He manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning. He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, (54)

A perfect communion was God’s plan for us. It was Jesus’ prayer for us. It still is.

On the night before he died, before he made this prayer, Jesus had supper for the last time with his disciples. Saint Paul shares with us the last supper details:

“...the Lord Jesus ...took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in memory of me.’ In the same manner he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of me.” 1 Corinthians 11

Every time we eat his body and drink his blood, we enjoy the most perfect communion with Jesus, his Father, the Holy Spirit. In this sacred event, God and humanity are one.

This sacred meal calls us to reflect on what awaits us at the Eternal Banquet in Heaven. It also calls us back to that time when our first parents walked in communion with God in the garden.

However, it was in the garden when Adam and Eve were accused by God for their deliberate sin.

It was in a garden, after his last supper, when Jesus was also accused. Although innocent, he was betrayed, arrested, accused, tortured and sent to die for us.

The Fall and Original Sin

Why did Jesus have to suffer and die for us, if he was innocent? What happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that caused Jesus to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane?

“When the woman saw that the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] was good for food, was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate it. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3

There were certain gifts that God alone could possess. The knowledge of good and evil was one of them. Created in God’s image, Adam and Eve had free will; but, they were not God. Our first parents wanted to be as wise as God and so, possessing free will, they took from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“The account of the fall in Genesis 3 … affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, (390)

Because of their sin, our first parents were cast out of the garden. Because of their sin, so were we. The psalmist (Psalm 51) begs God for mercy and reminds God about the nature of fallen humanity.
“True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me. Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.” Psalm 51

Because of Adam’s sin, we have been all found guilty. The Church and the psalmist agree that we are born with sin—Original Sin.

As Saint Paul writes:

“… through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all, because all sinned.” Romans 5

God was gracious and heard the prayers of a sinful humanity. He heard the prayers of Abraham, Moses, the prophets, King David and all the people of Israel.

Jesus, our Lord and God, came to take away our sins. He was like us in all things but sin. But, he took upon himself the sins of Adam and all humanity. He became sin for us and was found guilty. He was arrested in a garden so that we might walk in the eternal garden of heaven with him.

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The Necessity of Faith

The Gospel of Matthew gives us the message that God has heard the cry of a sinful nation and came to set us free. An angel visited Joseph in a dream. The angel said:

“Joseph, Son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife . . . She is to have a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 2

Jesus, a name which means, “God saves,” is the answer to the prayers of humanity.

As the song goes:

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

The Gospel of John says:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life.” John 3:16

God’s desire for a perfect communion is made possible through Jesus Christ. Only through Christ are we saved and so we must submit to the name of Jesus.

There is no other way to be saved or to enter God’s kingdom of heaven except through Jesus. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

The early church was commissioned by Christ to preach the good news that anyone who would come to him would have eternal life. Saint Paul, one of the great apostles said:

“For if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Faith in the heart leads to justification, confession on the lips to salvation.” Romans 10

Will those who do not know Jesus or profess his name be saved? With God all things are possible.

Faith is not just an intellectual activity. The church defines faith as a full submission of intellect and will to God through Jesus. (Catechism, 143)

For those who have found Christ, faith is sufficient; even though Jesus tells us that unless we are born again by water and the Spirit and unless we eat his body and drink his blood, we will not enter his kingdom or have life within us.

If, for example, believers in Christ wish to be baptized, but die before the Sacrament, they are afforded Christian burial.

For many, a confession of faith in Jesus is the first step toward a long journey with Jesus. But, the journey demands taking up our cross each day and following Jesus. Faith is both a singular conversion to Jesus and a life long embrace of his mission.

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The Necessity of Baptism

The Gospel of John tells a story about Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who wondered what Jesus meant about being begotten from above:

“How can a man be born again once he is old?,’ retorted Nicodemus. . . Jesus replied: ‘I solemly assure you, no one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit.” John 3

Faith and Baptism are the pre-requisites to enter the kingdom of God. This is why Jesus commissioned the Church to:

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation. The one who believes in it and accepts baptism will be saved; the one who refuses to believe in it will be condemned.” Mark 16:16

However, the Church says:

“God has bound salvation to the Sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.” Catechism, 1257

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Regarding the practice of infant Baptism :

“There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole ‘households’ received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.”

Clearly, Jesus, who said, “Let the children come to me,” (Mark 10:13) would not deny children access through the Sacrament of Baptism. As the Church proclaims:
“The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.” Catechism 1250

Neither in the Bible nor in the Tradition of the Church, does it say that faith in Christ must come first before baptism in Christ. At the same time, the Church does insist that children must be evangelized and catechized so that they can one day embrace the mission of Jesus on their own.

Many Catholics who were baptized as infants come to see the Lord as their savior and make a conscious effort to renew their baptism and walk with Jesus.

Adult Baptism is also a common practice in the Church. An adult who enjoys a new faith in Jesus and desires to be baptized often matures in faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) before celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism.

Of course, Baptism is conferred only once, and all baptized Christians—Protestant, Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox—are incorporated into Christ. Catechism, 1271

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The Grace of Baptism

At the creation of the world, it was God’s plan to be in perfect communion with humanity. The creation of Adam and Eve was the beginning of God’s marvelous plan

“God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” Genesis 1

Unfortunately, the sin of Adam and Eve frustrated the goodness of God’s good creation. This sin drove us out of the garden and out of communion with God. Only God could restore that communion.

The Sacrament of Baptism is God’s gracious gift to us to be restored to that perfect communion by the purification of sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit. Through baptism, our dying and rising with Christ, we become a new creation.

The grace of baptism includes the forgiveness of sins—Original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.

“Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death …. and the inclination to sin (concupiscience).” Catechism, 1264

The grace of Baptism also makes us a “new creation,” members of Christ and co-heirs with him, a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Paul reminds us in the First Letter to the Corinthians that all who are born again in Christ are members of the Body of Christ:
“It was in one Spirit that all of us, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, were baptized into one body. All of us have been given to drink of the one Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 12

The grace of Baptism reminds us of our Sacramental bond of unity with all Christians.

In our ecumenical age, we sing the song:

“We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord . . . And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

The grace of Baptism configures us to Christ. In this way, we say that:

“. . . Baptism seals the Christian with an indelible spiritual mark of his belonging to Christ … Given once, it cannot be repeated.” Catechism, 1272

When Cain killed his brother Abel (sons of Adam), God sealed Cain with a mark of his belonging to God. Still, God banished Cain.

Though we have been sealed for salvation, our free will can lead us to turn from Jesus, which can prevent Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.

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