The Sacrament of Baptism

Through this sacrament God, our loving Father, opens to us the wells of salvation.  It is the means by which God brings to us the saving mystery of the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  St Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome makes this explicit:


‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.’ (Rom 6: 3,4)


Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus in St. John’s gospel describes himself as ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ and that is what the early Christians experienced him to be. In the events of his birth, life, death and resurrection they began to glimpse in him something more than just a prophet: the presence of God himself. In time they would acknowledge him as Lord and Saviour, truly God and truly human. In and through Jesus the great divide between God’s holiness and human brokenness was bridged. A humanity lost in darkness has been offered the light to a homeward path. Jesus shows us a true way to real and lasting life and this is found in following him as a disciple.

The Church

From the beginning Jesus gathered his disciples and formed them into a community. No one was ever a follower on their own but always as part of his ‘Gathering’ – his Church. Jesus sent his first followers to make new disciples by gathering them into his presence through proclaiming his joyful message and through Baptism. For nearly 2000 years the Catholic Church has carried out that mission to the nations and peoples of the world. Her task is to make disciples and build a single community of faith from within the diversity of the Human race. We painfully acknowledge our failures to live up to this high calling but are still impelled to proclaim the Gospel of God’s mercy and to baptise ‘in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’.

The Sacrament of Baptism.

The word Sacrament is an old Latin word which means a promise or an oath. In Baptism God promises to make the person a son or daughter, forgive their sins and make them sharers in the resurrection-life of Jesus. The parents promise to be faithful in following Jesus through prayer, lifestyle, witness and worshipping with the community at Sunday Mass. In this way they promise to bring up their child in the practice of the Catholic Faith, to bring him or her up as a disciple.

Baptism means to dip or wash so the living symbol of Baptism is water. As water gives us physical health and life, so Holy Baptism through the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, gives spiritual health and spiritual life. As Catholics we believe that it is not just a symbol but a living event where the person is born again into the family of God. Jesus teaches his followers to call God Father and so to the baptised the ‘Our Father’ prayer becomes the special prayer of the Christian family.


As in Baptism we become a daughter or son of God we have the privilege of being named after the Christ (Greek) or the Messiah (Hebrew) both meaning the Anointed One. Therefore sometimes Baptism is referred to as Christening a shortened form of Christ—en—ing or making a new Christ. In Catholic Baptism the person is anointed with the oil which is used to make priests and kings, the oil of Sacred Chrism and so we are called Christs or Christian.

The Renunciation of Evil and the Profession of Faith

During the service the parents and godparents are asked to reject the glamour and power of evil and to positively profess their faith in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Done with an open trust this puts those who participate back into a renewed relationship with God. Consequently before you make this profession you are asked to think it through. Is this a true profession, is it real or just words? You may use this as a golden opportunity to ‘re-connect’ with God or (perhaps inadvertently) to push yourself further from him. If God is not real then this is all nonsense. If he is real then he should not be messed with! I urge you to take this seriously, to reflect on what you are doing and by these actions either deepen an existing relationship or for the first time consciously make the vows once made for you your own.

If your faith makes you ready…

Contact the parish priest at Mass at least 2 months before the requested date.

Pick up a baptism Request Form from him.

Once a date is settled the appropriate preparation class needs to be completed.

Please remember

Baptisms normally take place on Sundays

Baptisms outside of mass are undertaken monthly on dates published within the parish.

Baptisms within mass can be arranged for a Sunday of choice.

If you live outside of Musselburgh parish and for any reason wish your child to be baptised here then you need the permission of the parish priest of the parish where you live. That permission should be in writing

The Church needs to be assured that the Child has some realistic hope of growing up in the practice of the faith – the spiritual life born in your child in baptism is nurtured through coming to mass…

Both Godparents need to be baptised Christians, one of those needs to be a practicing Catholic, both need to be over 16.