The Sacrament of Baptism initiates a person into the Paschal Mystery — the experience of the dying and rising of Jesus Christ.  Through Baptism a person becomes a member of the Body of Christ in the Catholic Church — a member of the worshiping, witnessing, and serving Church — and is cleansed of Original Sin.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The Second Vatican Council designated as the norm for initiation into the Catholic Church a spiritual process known as the Catechumenate. Through this process of an indeterminate length of time an adult (a person 7 years of age and older) comes to the knowledge of Jesus Christ primarily through hearing and meditating on the Sacred Scripture (Gospels). As Saint Jerome taught, “Ignorance of the Gospels is ignorance of Christ.” The candidate is also invited to participate in the service dimensions of the community to live the Christian life, supported by sponsors and the people of the parish through example and prayer. The emphasis is on being formed into the values and lifestyle of a Christian not providing information about Catholic belief and tradition. This informational aspect is often what may draw a person to inquire about the Catholic Church but is secondary in importance to living Jesus Christ. Public rituals and prayers accompany the journey and mark significant points of passage toward the celebration of the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist during the Easter Vigil or other appropriately chosen time. 
Are you interested in becoming a Christian in the Catholic tradition?

You can make an initial contact in regard to your questions with Fr Chris or with our OCIA coordinator, Mel Sperti.

Want to explore yourself?


The Baptism of Infants 

In infant baptism, the Church celebrates with families the new life that they have brought forth from their mutual love or through adoption.  The Church relies on the faith and example of the parents, godparents, and family to be the immediate and initial “school of holiness” for the infant.  It is more than just making sure a child receives their Sacraments.  The faith, prayer life, and values lived out by the parents are vital if the child is to mature in the Christian faith. 

The baptismal liturgy teaches in various and repeated ways of the parental and familial responsibility:

  • “Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking…” [in bringing your child up to love God and their neighbor]
  • “On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring [your child] up in the practice of the faith.”
  • “Parents and godparents, this flame [the Light of Christ] is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly.”
  • “[The father and mother] will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith.  May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do…”

The vocation of parenthood in the mutual love of marriage is a wonderful and yet daunting mystery and responsibility.  

The Church acknowledges that family life is changing — Catholic families are affected by the pain and separation of divorce, single parenting, and families where grandparents or guardians have a significant role in the life of children.  The baptism of a child is not dependent on a traditionally intact family, but rather on the family members being willing to bring the child up in the practice of the Catholic faith.  St. Mary’s Church strives to be present to all who approach us to walk the way of Christ with their children.

To arrange a baptismal preparation meeting with Deacon Paul and Amy Cerosaletti, please call the rectory main office at 607-432-3920, ext. 0.