Baptism & Confirmation
Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Church—the others being Confirmation and Eucharist. If you are a member of St. Joseph, through registration and involvement or through residence in the boundaries of the Parish, you are welcome to have your child baptized here. Likewise, if you desire to become part of the St. Joseph community, you are welcome to begin the process leading to baptism.
The symbols of baptism make clear that baptism has both a personal and a communal dimension. The most obvious of these symbols is water, upon which all life depends. Water is not just the possession of one person, but ties us to one another and to all of creation. Likewise, the candle, lit from the Paschal/Easter candle, reminds us that our light comes from the light of Jesus, to be carried out into the world. Chrism—the oil from which the title “Christ” i.e., “Anointed One” comes—reminds the baptized that she is now a “Christ” herself—united, always, to the one Christ.
Anointed, as Jesus was, the baptized is empowered and symbolically commissioned as Priest—to pray for the People—as Prophet—to speak the truth of God’s covenant—and as King—to serve the common good. Finally, the font itself is a symbol, coming in one of three shapes: round, to symbolize the womb of new birth; rectangular, to symbolize the tomb, as one passes from death to life; or eight-sided, as one begins the new week—the eighth day—in the new kingdom of God. In all these we pass both personally and with the community of the Church into life through the grace of God.
As in the ancient Church, at St. Joseph, baptism comes at the end of a process of preparation, either for parents and godparents—when the one to be baptized is a child—or as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for those who are not children. In both of these, people are invited to explore what it means to be part of the Church, as a way of being in relationship to Jesus. To have your children baptized at St. Joseph, you should be an active and registered member of the Parish, who has undergone appropriate preparation.
Baptisms are done periodically during the weekend liturgies, unless a pastoral situation requires a baptism at some other time. Dottie Farewell supervises the preparation of parents and godparents for baptism. In rare cases, for pastoral reasons, people not register or active at St. Joseph may have their child baptized here; however, preparation in the home parish and a letter of permission from one’s pastor is required.
Adults seeking baptism are ordinarily required to participate in the R.C.I.A. program, which begins in September of each year. Adult baptism occurs at Easter, during the Vigil Mass.