"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." --Matthew 28:19
Congratulations on the birth of your child! You give your children many things - food, shelter, clothing, education, a loving home, and a caring family. But it all begins with the gift of faith. Through baptism, your child will belong to Christ forever.
To begin the process of having your child baptized, we ask that you attend a class to prepare for this moment in your child’s life. Classes are held the 2nd Sunday of the months of January, April, July, and October after the 10AM Mass in the Parish Life Center.
To aid in planning for your child’s baptism we have included the requirements for Infant Baptism and a brief overview of the process below. We look forward to celebrating this first sacrament with your family!
Scheduling the Baptism
If the parents are registered parishioners, please register to attend a baptismal class if you have not done so within the last 3 years.
If the parents are not registered members of Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Joseph or St. Anthony's we invite you to join our community and register!
Attend the Baptism Preparation Class lead by Fr. Vince or Deacon Neil where you will learn the theology of infant baptism, fellowship with other parents, and ensure the Baptisms documentation is completed.
Godparents are chosen for their faithful commitment and for their ability to assist the Godchild and parents on their faith journey. Only one Godparent is required for baptism, either male or female; if two Godparents are selected, then one must be male and the other female. Each proposed Godparent needs to be certified by their own parish as meeting the requirements for Godparents.
Each Godparent must meet the following requirements:
Must be at least 16 years of age.
May not be the natural or adoptive parent of the child being baptized.
Must be fully initiated Roman Catholic (Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion).
Must be an active, practicing Catholic in full communion with the Catholic Church and striving to live a life in harmony with its teachings.
If married, the marriage must be valid according to Church teaching.
Children's Sacramental preparation is for those who are seven (7) years of age and older who:
Are in second grade or older and have not prepared for First Reconciliation (also called Penance or Confession).
Are in the third grade or older and have not made their First Reconciliation or First Communion.
To get started:
Become a registered parishioner.
Attend Sunday Mass at the parish.
Register for Religious Education!
Preparation Components and Requirements:
Sunday Mass attendance
Catechetical formation through:
Sunday Religious Education Classes. Children are expected to attend each Sunday morning session. Multiple missed sessions may delay reception of sacraments.
If a child has had no previous catechetical formation, it is recommended that they participate in formation for at least one year before preparing for any sacrament.
To help children learn the essentials of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Communion that parents will receive at a parent meeting concerning the Second grader receivingFirst Reconciliation and Holy Communion.
Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation that is closely connected to Baptism and Eucharist, even though it is often celebrated years later. It “perfects baptismal grace” and incorporates us more firmly into Christ and strengthens our bond with the whole Church and the mission of Christ. At Confirmation, one is strengthened in the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us live more fully as disciples of Jesus Christ.
What are the pre-requisites to entering Confirmation preparation? An individual must be baptized and minimally in Grade 11 or 16 years old to enter Confirmation preparation. S/he should have been in a faith formation program for at least one year prior to entering Confirmation preparation, and be willing and able to participate fully in the immediate preparation for Confirmation.
What does Confirmation preparation entail?
For adolescents, there is usually a parent or parent/candidate session so that everyone is aware of the details of the preparation, and is ready to enter the process. There may be a series of gatherings for catechesis on the sacrament, prayer and worship experiences, a retreat, meetings with sponsors, and other activities that vary from parish to parish. The preparation period often culminates in a personal conversation with the pastor, parish life director or catechetical/youth ministry leader to discern where the candidate is in his/her journey to being a disciple of Jesus.
What is a retreat and why is it necessary?
To “retreat” usually means to step away. A Confirmation retreat is just that ---a time to step away from our everyday activity and spend some concentrated time to reflect on our relationship with Jesus Christ and what that means for our life. A retreat may be held at the parish site or off-site; it may be a day, an overnight or a weekend experience. It may involve large group activities, small group process, media, music, talks by peers or adults, prayer experiences, or even the Eucharist or the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Anytime one is taking a major step in one’s faith journey, having some time apart to prayerfully discern what that means for one’s life, is an important and necessary activity.
What about “service hours”?
Service is an essential component of Christian discipleship. By the time a person enters preparation for Confirmation, s/he should have had many opportunities and experiences of serving others – both in the parish and in the wider community. The idea of accumulating a certain number of “service hours” in order to be confirmed is discouraged for a number of reasons: 1) it gives the appearance of merely “fulfilling a requirement” in order to “earn” Confirmation, similar to a person doing community service hours in order to fulfill a parole requirement! 2) Service hours are often done as a task to be completed rather than an experience where one can encounter the living Christ. It is, however, important for the Confirmation candidate to reflect on their overall experience of serving others as a way of living their lives as a Catholic Christian and encountering Christ in those whom we serve. Sometimes a particular service experience is built into the preparation for Confirmation, so that the candidates can both participate and reflect upon the same experience together.
Do I have to have a “Confirmation name”?
When the Rite of Confirmation was revised after the Second Vatican Council, there was a renewed emphasis on the relationship between Baptism and Confirmation. This is reflected today in many practices around Confirmation: the preference for the baptismal godparent as the Confirmation sponsor, if possible; the renewal of the baptismal promises at the Confirmation liturgy; and the preference for the baptismal name. So the name you were given at your baptism is the preferred name to use at your Confirmation ----which is your real, given name! The practice of choosing another name has been a time-honored tradition in many places. In the Bible, the giving of a “new name” signified a change of status or an inner conversion. So the practice of choosing the name of a saint signified a candidate’s intention to model the holiness of this person and become more Christ-like. So you have an option --- you still may choose the name of a saint whose holiness you admire and want to emulate. But the preferred option is your very own name – as YOU were baptized and called to holiness!
Who can be a Confirmation sponsor?
A person is eligible to be a sponsor for a Confirmation candidate if s/he
* Is at least 16 years of age
* Is a Catholic who has been fully initiated (baptized, confirmed and received Eucharist)
* Lives a live in harmony with the Catholic faith
* Is designated by the candidate and willing to take the role of sponsor
* Is neither the father or the mother of the candidate ( or someone in the parental role)
The role of sponsor is not merely an honorary role just for the ceremony only. The sponsor role is very specific – s/he is a representative of the Catholic community and pledges to support the faith journey of the candidate in the Catholic community. This is why a person who is not a Catholic (even though s/he has had a positive influence through faith and witness), is not eligible to have this role. A Catholic who does not go to Mass or practice his/her faith should also not be considered for this responsibility. Sometimes a parish will require a sponsor to provide a letter from his/her parish church affirming their membership and participation in that community. If the sponsor meets all the above criteria, then he/she may be a relative, but not a parent (or not someone who acts in the parental role – e.g., a stepparent or a grandparent raising the candidate). The sponsor does not have to be the same gender as the candidate. Even though the minimum age of the sponsor can be 16, it is advisable that s/he be someone with more life experience who can act as a faith guide, not a peer. If the candidate’s baptismal godparent meets the criteria for sponsor, s/he is actually the ideal sponsor, since Baptism and Confirmation are closely related sacraments.
When the Catholic Church teaches that marriage between two baptized persons is a sacrament, it is saying that the couple’s relationship expresses in a unique way the unbreakable bond of love between Christ and his people. Like the other six sacraments of the Church, marriage is a sign or symbol which reveals the Lord Jesus and through which his divine life and love are communicated. All seven sacraments were instituted by Christ and were entrusted to the Church to be celebrated in faith within and for the community of believers. The rituals and prayers by which a sacrament is celebrated serve to express visibly what God is doing invisibly.
In a sacramental marriage, God’s love becomes present to the spouses in their total union and also flows through them to their family and community. By their permanent, faithful and exclusive giving to each other, symbolized in sexual intercourse, the couple reveals something of God’s unconditional love. The sacrament of Christian marriage involves their entire life as they journey together through the ups and downs of marriage and become more able to give to and receive from each other. Their life becomes sacramental to the extent that the couple cooperates with God’s action in their life and sees themselves as living “in Christ” and Christ living and acting in their relationship, attitudes and actions.
Catholic teaching holds that sacraments bring grace to those who receive them with the proper disposition. Grace is a way of describing how God shares the divine life with us and gives us the help we need to live as followers of Christ. In marriage, the grace of this sacrament brings to the spouses the particular help they need to be faithful and to be good parents. It also helps a couple to serve others beyond their immediate family and to show the community that a loving and lasting marriage is both desirable and possible.
Pope Paul VI wrote: “By it [the Sacrament of Matrimony] husband and wife are strengthened and…consecrated for the faithful accomplishment of their proper duties, for the carrying out of their proper vocation even to perfection, and the Christian witness which is proper to them before the whole world” (Humanae Vitae, n. 25).
If you have been thinking about becoming a full member of the Catholic Church, were never baptized, were baptized in another Christian tradition, or were baptized Catholic but never received First Eucharist and Confirmation, joining the RCIA might be for you. We invite you to begin your faith journey with us! If you are already a fully initiated Catholic and just want to update your faith, know that you are also welcome to join us. On the journey you will:
get to know Jesus for the first time, or deepen your already existing relationship with Him
gain a new awareness of God’s presence and action in your life
learn about the Scriptures and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
discern whether God is inviting you to join the Catholic Church
grow in your relationship with the Catholic faith community
prepare for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation.
No one is ever pressured to become Catholic, as that decision is between each person and God. We are available to guide and to help each person discern God’s call.
Inquirers are welcome any time throughout the year. The process begins with a one-on-one appointment during which an inquirer has a chance to ask questions and to learn more about the RCIA process and what it might look like for him/her.
In the upcoming year, Religious Education classes will meet in person weekly unless circumstances change - which we will inform you by letter. There is more information located on the parish website including the registration form which we ask you to print off and submit to the parish office or you can email it back to the RE Office - email@example.com
The parish Religious Education program exists in order to support you in your role as the primary educators of your household by providing a systematic presentation of the basics of the Catholic faith. When this systematic presentation resonates with the child’s lived experience of the faith in the home, it becomes deeply meaningful and lasts a lifetime. Parents catechize their children primarily through the lived experience of the faith and through conversations often brought about by specific occasions. Attending Mass each week is a vital part of your child's faith formation journey.
Weekly in Person Options: The weekly in person classes are offered for grades Pre-K-4thh and meet on Sunday mornings from 9-10AM or Wednesday evenings, Grades 5th -11th Grades from 7-8PM.
Classes Begin: Sunday, September 11th for Pre-k through 4th Grades and Wednesday, September 14th for the 5th through 11th Grades from 7-8PM all at the Parish Life Center.
Tuition: Preschool to 10th grades - $20 per Student or $35 per Family; Confirmation (11th grade) - $35 per Student for class materials (in lieu of fundraisers). Please make checks payable to Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church with Religious Ed. in memo. (Cash/Check_____). (If tuition would be a financial burden, please discuss doing extra fundraisers instead with a DRE.)
Sacramental Prep:If your child is preparing to receive a sacrament this year (First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, or Confirmation) AND if your child was not baptized at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, we will need to receive a copy from the Church of Baptism. The parent can simply call the Church of Baptism and have the Church mail it directly to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 713 Elm Street, St. Paul, NE. 68873 - Attention: Religiuos Education. Sacramental Prep classes are held during the regular scheduled Religious Ed classes but there are the additional diocesan requirements of a retreat. You will receive a packet with a calendar for all the scheduled events, retreats etc.
I along with all the catechists and Religious Ed volunteers hope to partner with you in the faith formation of your children. We are thankful to our dedicated volunteer catechists who strive to provide age appropriate and meaningful catechesis for the students each time they meet.
I look forward to working with you and your children and hope that we can journey together towards a closer relationship with God and His presence in our daily lives. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Rev. Vincent Parsons Mrs. Judi Baker
Pastor Director of Religious Education
ONE GOD. ONE FAMILY. ONE HOPE.
HOWARD COUNTY CATHOLICS
713 Elm St. | St. Paul, NE 68873 | PH: (308) 754-4002