Tag: Baptism

This is Why Catholics Choose Saint’s Name At Baptism

This is Why Catholics Choose Saint’s Name At Baptism

“What name would  you like to give your child?”

In reply, you might hear:

Ashley Elizabeth…

David Joseph…

Mary Joy…

Justin Michael…

There’s nothing that says “Catholic” quite like the names of saints and angels, biblical figures, or Christian feasts and virtues during the Catholic Rite of Baptism!

Early Christianity and Baptismal Names

The Catholic tradition of naming a child after a saint is not new. It is an ancient tradition that carries much importance, and rightly so!

In the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom strongly encouraged parents to choose for their children names of holy men and women known for their strength and virtue, in order that the children might look to them as role models.

Even earlier, St. Dionysius of Alexandria (c. 260) observed, “There are many of the same name as the Apostle John, who on account of their love for him, and because they admired and followed him, and wished to be loved by the Lord as he was, took to themselves the same name, just as many of the children of the faithful are called Paul or Peter.”

Canon Law and the Tradition of Giving Children Christian Names

Most Catholics choose a saint’s name for their child’s first or middle name (or both!). In the past, Canon Law required that parents have a Christian name for the child at Baptism. However, this is no longer a tough-and-fast requirement. In the current code of Canon Law, number 855 simply states:

“Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given.”

This statement is phrased negatively, meaning that, rather than telling parents what they must do, a few names are instead considered “off limits,” while the rest is left to the prayerful reflection of the parents.

For example, it would be rather unsettling for a Catholic to present the name “Lucifer” or “Zeus” for an infant at his baptism, and the priest might question what intention the parents had in giving their child such a name.

Having said that, there is a long and beautiful tradition as to why Catholics do present a saintly or biblical name for their child at Baptism, and why those who convert to Catholicism may decide to take an additional name when they are baptized.

The Choosing and Changing of Names in the Bible

The Bible gives us many vivid examples of  relevant circumstances bringing about a change in name, especially in regards to moments of spiritual conversion:

  • When God chooses Abram to be the father of the Chosen People and asks him to be circumcised as part of this new covenant, He gives Abram a new name: Abraham
  • After wrestling with an angel and receiving the angel’s blessing, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel
  • The name changes of Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul in the New Testaments are deeply significant

Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul

In each of these cases, a crucial encounter with God led to the choosing of a name which reflected the solemnity of that event. When a child is baptized, he or she becomes a son or daughter of God the Father, a co-heir of Heaven through Christ the Son, and a sharer in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

If there’s one situation that inspires a Christian to take on a name in line with the solemnity of the occasion, Baptism is certainly that event! (It is also a tradition to take on a new name at the Sacrament of Confirmation.

When Catholic parents have a child, they may choose a saint’s name as the child’s given name, and present that name at the infant’s baptism. For those who receive baptism later in life or convert to Catholicism, the newly baptized may select a name to reflect his or her new status as a Christian, and this name stands as a beautiful and concrete symbol and a reminder of spiritual conversion.

Modern Thoughts on Taking a Saint’s Name At Baptism

Fr. Roger Landry, a theologian, and writer in the diocese of Fall River, MA, has a very absolute and beautiful article on the relevance of giving a child a name that will inspire him or her to live a life of virtue. I’ll leave you with a few of his thoughts on the subject:

To give someone a name, as we see from the start, is a sacred act, an act that participates in God’s creative plan, a solemn responsibility that should be carried out with prayer and joyful seriousness rather than done capriciously and carelessly not caring of the outcome…The choice of a name can have a profound influence on the child’s development and self-identity.”

“One of the questions pregnant couples should ask themselves is what their child will think of the name chosen and the reasons why it was chosen.

Was it chosen simply because they liked the way it sounded and no one had ever heard such related sounds before, or was it chosen to honor a beloved family member whose influence and virtue really influenced them? Was it chosen reluctantly with no connection to anyone or anything whatsoever, or was it choosen to link the person to a unique hero in this life or in the next?”

How Can A Non Catholic Become A Catholic? 

How Can A Non Catholic Become A Catholic? 

Becoming Catholic is a lengthy process, but it certainly is a rewarding one. Once you become Catholic, you can step out into the world, and live your life according to the Church’s teachings. 


Becoming Catholic is one of life’s most profound and joyous experiences. Some are blessed enough to receive this great gift while they are infants, and, over time, they recognize the enormous grace that has been bestowed on them. Others enter the Catholic fold when they are older children or adults. This tract examines the joyful process by which one becomes a Catholic. 


A person is brought into full communion with the Catholic Church through reception of the three sacraments of Christian initiation—baptism, confirmation, and the holy Eucharist—but the process by which one becomes a Catholic can take different forms. 

A person who is baptized in the Catholic Church becomes a Catholic at that moment. One’s initiation is deepened by confirmation and the Eucharist, but one becomes a Catholic at baptism. This is true for children who are baptized Catholic (and receive the other two sacraments later) and for adults who are baptized, confirmed, and receive the Eucharist at the same time. 

Those who have been validly baptized outside the Church become Catholics by making a profession of the Catholic faith and being formally received into the Church. This is normally followed immediately by confirmation and the Eucharist. 

Before a person is ready to be received into the Church, whether by baptism or by profession of faith, preparation is necessary. The amount and form of this preparation depends on the individual’s circumstance. The most basic division in the kind of preparation needed is between those who are unbaptized and those who have already become Christian through baptism in another church. 

For adults and children who have reached the age of reason (age seven), entrance into the Church is governed by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), sometimes called the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA). 

 

Preparation For The Unbaptized



Preparation for reception into the Church begins with the inquiry stage, in which the unbaptized person begins to learn about the Catholic faith and begins to decide whether to embrace it. 

The first formal step to Catholicism begins with the rite of reception into the order of catechumens, in which the unbaptized express their desire and intention to become Christians. “Catechumen” is a term the early Christians used to refer to those preparing to be baptized and become Christians. 

The period of the catechumenate varies depending on how much the catechumen has learned and how ready he feels to take the step of becoming a Christian. However, the catechumenate often lasts less than a year. 

The catechumenate’s purpose is to provide the catechumens with a thorough background in Christian teaching. “A thoroughly comprehensive catechesis on the truths of Catholic doctrine and moral life, aided by approved catechetical texts, is to be provided during the period of the catechumenate” (U.S. Conference of Bishops, National Statutes for the Catechumenate, Nov. 11, 1986). The catechumenate also is intended to give the catechumens the opportunity to reflect upon and become firm in their desire to become Catholic, and to show that they are ready to take this serious and joyful step. (cf. Luke 14:27–33; 2 Pet. 2:20–22).

The second formal step is taken with the rite of election, in which the catechumens’ names are written in a book of those who will receive the sacraments of initiation. At the rite of election, the catechumen again expresses the desire and intention to become a Christian, and the Church judges that the catechumen is ready to take this step. Normally, the rite of election occurs on the first Sunday of Lent, the forty-day period of preparation for Easter. 

After the rite of election, the candidates undergo a period of more intense reflection, purification, and enlightenment, in which they deepen their commitment to repentance and conversion. During this period the catechumens, now known as the elect, participate in several further rituals. 

The three chief rituals, known as scrutinies, are normally celebrated at Mass on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. The scrutinies are rites for self-searching and repentance. They are meant to bring out the qualities of the catechumen’s soul, to heal those qualities which are weak or sinful, and to strengthen those that are positive and good. 

During this period, the catechumens are formally presented with the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, which they will recite on the night they are initiated. 

The initiation itself usually occurs on the Easter Vigil, the evening before Easter Day. That evening, a special Mass is celebrated at which the catechumens are baptized, then given confirmation, and finally receive the holy Eucharist. At this point the catechumens become Catholics and are received into full communion with the Church. 

Ideally the bishop oversees the Easter Vigil service and confers confirmation upon the catechumens, but often—due to large distances or numbers of catechumens—a local parish priest will perform the rites. 

The final state of Christian initiation is known as mystagogy, in which the new Christians are strengthened in the faith by further instruction and become more deeply rooted in the local Catholic community. The period of mystagogy normally lasts throughout the Easter season (the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost Sunday). 

For the first year of their life as Christians, those who have been received are known as neophytes or “new Christians.” 

 

Preparation For Christians



The means by which those who have already been validly baptized become part of the Church differs considerably from that of the unbaptized. 

Because they have already been baptized, they are already Christians; they are, therefore, not catechumens. Because of their status as Christians, the Church is concerned that they not be confused with those who are in the process of becoming Christians. 

“Those who have already been baptized in another church or ecclesial community should not be treated as catechumens or so designated. Their doctrinal and spiritual preparation for reception into full Catholic communion should be determined according to the individual case, that is, it should depend on the extent to which the baptized person has led a Christian life within a community of faith and been appropriately catechized to deepen his or her inner adherence to the Church” (NSC 30). 

For those who were baptized but who have never been instructed in the Christian faith or lived as Christians, it is appropriate for them to receive much of the same instruction in the faith as catechumens, but they are still not catechumens and are not to be referred to as such (NSC 3). As a result, they are not to participate in the rites intended for catechumens, such as the scrutinies. Even “[t]he rites of presentation of the creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the book of the Gospels are not proper except for those who have received no Christian instruction and formation” (NSC 31). 

For those who have been instructed in the Christian faith and have lived as Christians, the situation is different. The U.S. Conference of Bishops states, “Those baptized persons who have lived as Christians and need only instruction in the Catholic tradition and a degree of probation within the Catholic community should not be asked to undergo a full program parallel to the catechumenate” (NSC 31). For this reason, they should not share in the same, full RCIA programs that catechumens do. 

The timing of their reception into the Church also is different. The U.S. Conference of Bishops states, “It 
is preferable that reception into full communion not take place at the Easter Vigil lest there be any confusion of such baptized Christians with the candidates for baptism, possible misunderstanding of or even reflection upon the sacrament of baptism celebrated in another church or ecclesial community . . . ” (NSC 33). 


Rather than being received on Easter Vigil, “the reception of candidates into the communion of the Catholic Church should ordinarily take place at the Sunday Eucharist of the parish community, in such a way that it is understood that they are indeed Christian believers who have already shared in the sacramental life of the Church and are now welcomed into the Catholic Eucharistic community . . .” (NSC 32). 

Christians coming into the Catholic Church must discuss with their pastor and/or bishop the amount of instruction needed and the time of their reception. 

 

Peace With God



The sacrament of baptism removes all sins committed prior to it, but since Christians have already been baptized, it is necessary for them to confess mortal sins committed since baptism before receiving confirmation and the Eucharist. 

In some cases, this can be difficult due to a large number of years between the Christian’s baptism and reception into the Catholic Church. In such cases, the candidate should confess the mortal sins he can remember by kind and, to the extent possible, indicate how often such sins were committed. As always with the sacrament of reconciliation, the absolution covers any mortal sins that could not be remembered, so long as the recipient intended to repent of all mortal sins. 

Christians coming into the Church should receive the sacrament of reconciliation before their reception into the Church (there is no established point for when they should do this) to ensure that they are in a state of grace when they are received and confirmed. Their formation in the faith should stress that frequent confession is part of Catholic life: “The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with candidates for reception into full communion is to be carried out at a time prior to and distinct from the celebration of the rite of reception. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament” (NSC 36). 

The Christian fully enters the Church by profession of faith and formal reception. For the profession of faith, the candidate says, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” 

The bishop or priest then formally receives the Christian into the Church by saying: (Name), “the Lord receives you into the Catholic Church. His loving kindness has led you here, so that in the unity of the Holy Spirit you may have full communion with us in the faith that you have professed in the presence of his family.” 

The bishop or priest then normally administers the sacrament of confirmation and celebrates the holy Eucharist, giving the new Catholic the Eucharist for the first time. 

 

Reception In Special Cases



In some situations, there may be doubts whether a person’s baptism was valid. All baptisms are assumed valid, regardless of denomination, unless after serious investigation there is reason to doubt that the candidate was baptized with water and the Trinitarian formula (“. . . in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), or that the minister or recipient of baptism did not intend it to be an actual baptism. 

If there are doubts about the validity of a person’s baptism (or whether the person was baptized at all), then the candidate will be given a conditional baptism (one with the form “. . . if you are not already baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit“). 

“If conditional baptism . . . seems necessary, this must be celebrated privately rather than at a public liturgical assembly of the community and with only those limited rites which the diocesan bishop determines. The reception into full communion should take place later at the Sunday Eucharist of the community” (NSC 37). 

Another special case concerns those who have been baptized as Catholics but who were not brought up in the faith or who have not received the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist. “Although baptized adult Catholics who have never received catechetical instruction or been admitted to the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist are not catechumens, some elements of the usual catechumenal formation are appropriate to their preparation for the sacraments, in accord with the norms of the ritual, Preparation of Uncatechized Adults for Confirmation and Eucharist” (NSC 25). 

 

Waiting For The Day!



It can be a time of anxious longing while one waits to experience the warm embrace of membership in the Church and to be immersed into Catholic society. This time of waiting and reflection is necessary, since becoming a Catholic is a momentous event. But waiting can be painful as one longs for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and the joys of Catholic life—the security that being a faithful Catholic bestows. Yet even before being received, those waiting to be fully incorporated already have a real relationship with the Church. 

For those who are already Christians, their baptism itself forms a certain sacramental relationship with the Church (cf. Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio 3; Catechism of the Catholic Church 1271). They are also joined to the Church by their intention to enter it, as are the unbaptized who intend to do so: “Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, desire with an explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined to her. With love and solicitude mother Church already embraces them as her own” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14:3; CCC 1249). 

Thus, even before one is fully incorporated into the Church, one can enjoy the status of being recognized by the Church as one of her own, precious children. 



Pope Francis Baptize Nigerian Hero On Easter Vigil

Pope Francis Baptize Nigerian Hero On Easter Vigil

Mr Ogah & Pope Francis


During the Saturday easter vigil, Pope Francis urged Catholics to not remain paralyzed in the face of the injustices around them as he baptized eight adults, including a Nigerian beggar who became a hero in Italy for having disarmed a thief with his bare hands.

In an Easter Vigil homily, Francis challenged Catholics to not remain silent, as Jesus’ disciples were after his crucifixion. Rather, he urged Catholics to “break out” of their routines and let God in.

It wasn’t clear if he had a particular reference in mind, but John Ogah certainly didn’t stand by speechless as he witnessed a supermarket robbery on Sept. 26.

According to Italian news reports, Ogah had been begging for spare change outside the Carrefour market in Rome’s Centocelle neighborhood when a masked thief, armed with a meat cleaver, tried to make off with 400 euros ($493) he had stolen from the cashiers.

Security cameras captured Ogah’s courageous next steps: With nothing more than his bare hands, he confronted the thief, wrested the cleaver away and held him by the collar until police arrived, after the man fell from his attempted getaway motorcycle.

Ogah then disappeared, fearing he would be deported because he didn’t have his papers in order. But Rome police authorities sought to reward his courage and within a month had given him a coveted Italian residency permit that had been denied him when his asylum bid failed.

According to the ANSA news agency, he now has a job with the Italian Red Cross and a place to call home. In preparing for his baptism, he reportedly asked the Rome police captain who handled his case to be his godfather.

In an interview soon after the theft, Ogah told La Repubblica newspaper that his dream was to be legally resident in Italy and have a job so he wouldn’t have to beg to support his child back home in Nigeria. Ogah had left Nigeria and, after a stay in Libya, set off for Italy on a migrant smuggler’s boat in May 2014.

“If Pope Francis or the president of the republic could do something for me I would be the happiest man in the world,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be legal, work and have a dignified life in Italy.”

On Saturday, Francis baptized him during the solemn pomp of one of the holiest nights in the Catholic liturgical calendar.

Ogah chose as his baptismal name “Francesco.”



Charlie Gard was baptized, held St. Jude medal before death

Charlie Gard was baptized, held St. Jude medal before death

Charlie Gard, an 11 month-old British infant who made headlines around the world over a fierce legal battle on parental rights, had been baptized by April.

Around that time, a picture of his tiny fist made the rounds on the internet of him clutching a St. Jude medal.

The boy’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, on Friday issued a statement announcing his death, saying: “Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie.”

Family spokesperson Alison Smith-Squire announced on Sunday that he will be buried with his toy monkeys, pictured with him in one of the viral photos of the boy.

“We should be planning Charlie’s first birthday but instead we’re planning his funeral,” his mother said, according to the Sun.

According to the Sun, his parents spent the weekend with family and on Monday were planning to register his death. They had wanted to keep a low profile from the media after the boy’s passing.

Charlie had been at the center of a legal battle between his parents and the Great Ormund Street Hospital (GOSH), an internationally known children’s hospital where he was being cared for. The case raised questions about medical ethics, end-of-life procedure, and parental rights.

Charlie was born on Aug. 4 last year, and in September was discovered to have a rare genetic condition which resulted in muscular deterioration. He was believed to be one of 16 sufferers of the disease in the world.

He was admitted to GOSH in October, and in a series of court cases stretching from March to June, judges repeatedly ruled in favor of doctors who wished to have the boy’s life support removed, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights’ rejection to hear the case. Yates and Gard had hoped to take Charlie to the U.S. for experimental treatment.

In early July, both Pope Francis and U.S. president Donald Trump intervened in support of the family on twitter. Trump said that the United States would cooperate with the boy’s parents in helping Charlie receive the experimental care.

On July 10, unpublished research on Charlie’s condition seemed to indicate the therapy being developed in the States could improve his condition. However, as weeks passed, his condition deteriorated beyond chance of improvement, and GOSH doctors insisted that international specialists claiming he could improve had not fully reviewed his medical records.

Yates and Gard conceded their legal battle on Monday after the latest medical reports indicated their son was beyond improvement indefinitely, and began fighting to have him spend a week in care at home before life support would be pulled.

On Thursday, Yates announced that they had been denied their wish to have him die at home. The boy’s parents had wished to spend a week with him in hospice. This too, however, was denied to them on the grounds that it may cause Charlie prolonged suffering, according to GOSH doctors.

The boy’s death was announced on Friday in a statement from the family.

A number of prominent figures, both from the secular and Catholic worlds, made statements on the passing of the little boy whose plight sparked international support as well as a debate on medical, infant, and parental rights.

Shortly after his passing was announced, Pope Francis tweeted his solidarity with the parents.

“I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him,” the pontiff said. He had previously made two statements in support of and solidarity with the child and his parents. One of these statements led to “the Pope’s hospital,” l’Ospedale Bambino Gesù, offering to care for Charlie.

Days before the boy’s passing, Bambino Gesù issued another statement, called “Charlie’s Legacy,” noting that it was too late for the boy to receive care but also commending the fact that “(f)or the first time, the international scientific community has gathered around a single patient, to carefully evaluate all the possibilities.” They called this “the true legacy of Charlie.”

The Great Ormund Street Hospital, where Charlie spent much of his final months, sent “heartfelt condolences.” Charlie’s parent had accused the hospital of putting up “obstacles” to allowing their child to die at home. The parents’ taking GOSH to court was the spark that lit the months-long legal turmoil for the family.

Theresa May, Prime Minister of Great Britain, said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Charlie Gard. My thoughts and prayers are with Charlie’s parents Chris and Connie at this difficult time.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “Saddened to hear of the Passing of Charlie Gard. Karen & I offer our prayers & condolences to his loving parents during this difficult time.”

The March for Life issued a statement with their condolences and offering their prayers for the family.

“Though his life here on earth was cut short, Charlie’s spirit will continue to inspire an international fight to ensure that the sanctity of every human life is respected,” the March’s statement said.

Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, issued a statement saying that “Our hearts are heavy today as we learn of Charlie Gard’s passing. We are so thankful for his life, which though too brief, has made a lasting impact on the world and drawn together people from all walks of life and political persuasions, uniting them around the dignity and value of every human being.” She also offered condolences to the parents and assured that “Charlie’s legacy” would build a culture of life.

The Catholic Association (TCA) also offered their condolences, noting that Gard and Yates had to endure both the death of their son as well as a tumultuous legal fight.

“(T)his excruciating decision should have belonged to his loving and devoted parents,” the TCA said. “There was no apparent compelling justification for the courts to override and replace the unique parental bond of love in this case, which has only added to the heartbreak of Charlie’s passing.”

The TCA statement continued: “The international response to the plight of this baby is a beautiful testament to the irreplaceable value of one human life.”

Source: CatholicNewsAgency



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