Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation. Although there are three distinct sacraments of initiation the Church understands full initiation as Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
In the early years of the Church after preparation a person was baptized, anointed with oil, (sealed with chrism) and welcomed to the table of the Eucharist during one liturgy. It did not matter how old the person was the initiation rite was the same for everyone. Infants or very young children would receive communion by having a drop of the precious blood placed on their tongue.
As time passed, for a variety of reasons a separation between the water bath; the action we often refer to as baptism and the anointing with oil and the welcome to the Eucharistic table developed. The initiation ritual which had included the water bath, anointing and welcome to the Eucharistic table now was stretched out over a period of weeks and then eventually years.
After the 2nd Vatican Council the Church restored the ancient practice of initiation being celebrated at one liturgy for adults and children of catechetical age. It does not matter how old we are when we are baptized, the Church's teaching on baptism does not change according to the age of the person. Baptism is always the first sacrament of initiation.
Today, if the person seeking baptism is six years of age or older the Church journeys with and prepares the person to celebrate the three sacraments of initiation during the same liturgy. The usual time for celebrating the three sacraments of initiation together is the Easter Vigil, the most important liturgy of the entire liturgical year. The preparation process leading to the celebration of initiation is often referred to as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This preparation is for all people who have celebrated their sixth birthday.
Today, if the person seeking baptism is under the age of six, the three sacramental moments are celebrated over a period of years. Preparation for Baptism of young children including infants formally begins by asking for a Baptism Preparation Package after a Sunday (Saturday) Mass.
Regardless of the age of the person seeking baptism the goal or destination of Baptism and Confirmation is full participation in the Sunday Eucharist (Mass). We participate fully in the weekly Sunday Eucharist through being actively engaged, feasting on the Word of God, praising and thanking God for the gifts we have received and being nourished at the Table of the Eucharist through receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. We are sent from the Lord's table to live as disciples, to live as the Body of Christ in the world.
Baptism for Infants and Young Children
Parents of infants and children up to the age of 6 are invited to speak with Fr. Larry Léger, pastor or Fr. Neyomal Silva, Associate Pastor or Catherine Ecker after any Sunday (Saturday evening) Mass to receive a baptism preparation package. The package provides detailed information on the preparation process. A date to celebrate Baptism is not chosen until the preapration is complete.
Baptism for Children over the age of 6
When a person has celebrated his or her sixth birthday the Church considers him / her to be of catechetical age and the preparation for baptism is directed by the Church's Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
If your child has celebrated his or her sixth birthday and is not baptized or was not baptized in the Catholic Church and he or she wishes to celebrate a sacrament please contact Catherine Ecker at Cecker@archtoronto.org or call the parish at 705 728 2985 ext. 115.