Occasions 365

Baptism

Celebrate a baby christening

Baptism is a sacrament offered by most branches of the Christian church, and it is a kind of initiation ceremony that welcomes the person being baptized into the church community. In bygone centuries, baptisms were an integral part of a person's life, with registrations and records being closely kept and used in censuses and for identification.

Today, baptism ceremonies still typically take place during infancy, though adults who are converting to Christianity from another religion must still undergo a formal ceremony. A christening is a variation on baptism, during which the infant's name is publicly revealed for the first time.

Baptisms and Baby Christenings

In the church, infant baptism is normally incorporated into a regular mass or Sunday service. It only takes a few minutes, and in most Christian denominations, the baby is brought forward, baptized with holy water and officially welcomed into the church community by the priest, who will call the baby by name. The baby will typically be dressed in a specialized gown, which is white in color. Some Christian denominations have specific guidelines to follow, so check with your priest or minister to see if there are any restrictions in place in your church.

One aspect of baptism that you will need to consider as a new parent is the selection of godparents. While modern godparents typically have few if any legal or spiritual responsibilities, in bygone years, they were essentially agreeing to take care of the child if anything happened to his or her parents. They are typically very close friends or family members, and their role is to hold the child while it is being baptized. It is common for godparents to give the child a special gift, and many godparents and godchildren go on to have special lifelong relationships.

Afterwards, it is common for the parents to host a party for family and friends to celebrate the occasion. If you're going to have people over after the church service, send a baptism invitation to each intended guest at least a month to six weeks before the event and ask for RSVPs so you can keep track of how many people are coming.

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