Normal Baptism Times
St Malachy’s Church, Saturday 5.30pm
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Sunday 1.15pm
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tullysaran, Saturday 6:30pm
Church of St Colmcille, Knockaconey, Sunday after 11am Mass
ALL Baptisms must be pre-booked through the Parish Office T 3752 2813.
The Baptism Programme will take place in the Synod Hall, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on the first Monday and the third Wednesday of each month at 8.00pm. All parents of children for Baptism in the parish are to attend one of the courses. Parents can register for the course at Armagh Parish Office (Tel 028 37522813). The course must be attended prior to your child’s Baptism. If the course is not attended and there is no other course available before the Baptism, the Baptism will have to be rescheduled.
Lord, I thank you that ___________ has become by Baptism a member of Your Church.
May he/she grow in faith all the days of his/her life. Lord, help me to carry out the responsibilities of Godparent that I have undertaken, Amen.
A Parents Blessing
When you were born, our hearts were so full of happiness, that there was no room in us for words. When you were growing, our hearts were so full of care for you that we spoke soothingly and sometimes sharply. Fearful for your safety but always in the deepest places of our hearts, we spoke lovingly. Today as we watch you moving forward with your friends, we marvel at all you have done and become. Our spirits sing praise to God for the gift that is you. And through our hearts, have stretched to love others, yet there is still a place within us that is yours and only yours, always. For the light you have shone on us, for the life you have called us to, for the special gift of God, you are now and will ever be….thank you.
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Even after a few days in this New Year and some of our resolutions may have fallen by the wayside. Some of our great ambitions may have been undertaken without sufficient conviction about the good to be accomplished or the price of commitment called for. In the light of failure, it’s always tempting to find comfort in believing that resolutions are made to be broken. But that’s not true. What makes us truly human is our ability to make decisions and promises and to stick faithfully to them, even when the pressure is to yield to the selfish impulse in a moment of weakness. Lived out promises are the foundation of love and the fulfilment of long-term happiness.
Today’s Gospel recalls a time of key decision in the life of Jesus. By being baptised in the river Jordan by his cousin John, he undertook to redeem all sinners and to spend his life in preaching salvation and proclaiming the kingdom of God. To postpone the choice or renege from his commitment would impoverish the world. His decision to go down to the water, led to a new outpouring of the Spirit upon him. As we read in “The Prayer of the Church”:
When Jesus comes to be baptised, He leaves the hidden years behind, the years of safety and peace, to hear the sins of all mankind. The Spirit of the Lord comes down, anoints the Christ to suffering, to preach the Word, to free the bound, and to the mourner comfort bring. Our everlasting Father praise, with Christ, his well-beloved Son, who with the Spirit reigns serene, untroubled Trinity in One.
In our lives, there are decision moments and opportunities when God calls us to new beginnings, renewed fidelity, deepening trust, more generous service and unconditional forgiveness. Each day offers such decisive opportunities to many. Let us hope that we will always be attentive and listen for the voice of the Father and have the courage to do what is asked of us.
On The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, it’s appropriate that we should recall the promises made on our behalf when we were baptised. On this special feast, we also pray for all the children who have been baptised in our parish community during the past year. Through the sacrament of Baptism, we become followers of Jesus Christ and members of his Church: but the significance of this would not be appreciated if we didn’t have good parents in our homes and committed teachers in our schools, to share their faith with us. And so, we pray on this special day that God’s Holy Spirit will accompany all of our parents and indeed, all in our community, who have the awesome challenge of passing on faith.
When parents bring their new baby to be baptised, the priest says to them “You have asked to have your child baptised. In doing so, you are accepting the responsibility of training him/her in the practice of the faith. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” Throughout the ceremony, parents are reminded of the grave responsibility they undertake as the “first teachers of the faith”.
Today we pray that they may be the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith in everything they say and do and may they always be aware that their own personal example of Christian living will be the most powerful and lasting influence of all. If for example, parents don’t ever pray in the home or go to Mass at the weekend, then there is little possibility that their children will be people of faith. If even one generation is lost to the faith, it is difficult and rare for the next generation to return to the practice of their religion once more. Handing on the faith is like a relay race, in which one team hands on the torch or the baton to the team taking over from it. If the torch is once allowed to fall, if the baton is once dropped and lost, each succeeding team, however hard it tries, will have great difficulty in reaching the finishing line.
It’s not so much a question of handing on a set of truths or facts, it’s more a matter of offering our children and young people a vision of life, based on the values of Jesus Christ, that will give them a sense of purpose and fulfilment. This special feast should be a reminder that by our Baptism, we are privileged children of the Father, touched by the Spirit, who are always in need of continuing conversion through the power and love of God.