Baptism is not simply a “naming ceremony” or even just a blessing for a new baby. It is the beginning of the Christian life and the gateway to eternal life. Because of this, the sacrament of Baptism is taken very seriously in the Church.
Baptisms are usually carried out on Saturdays at 11.30pm or 1.30pm. You will be expected to attend one preparation session before the baptism, which also takes place on a Saturday. Please see Fr Nicholas for details or look out for special announcements in the newsletter. The preparation will enable you to fully understand the sacrament and help you to take on the responsibilities of bringing up your child in the practice of the Catholic faith. Baptism can only be administered when at least one parent is a Catholic.
For more information and to receive an application form, please see Fr Nicholas or Angela.
First Holy Communion
This is an essential step in the Christian life. Candidates must be baptised and capable of understanding what it is they receive - not ordinary bread and wine but the Body and Blood of Christ - and be able to receive the sacrament reverently. They must also attend the preparation sessions and attend Mass every Sunday. First Holy Communion normally occurs when a child is in Year 3 or above. However, older children often join the course. For those over 13, it may be more appropriate to join the Confirmation or RCIA course.
Application forms are normally available in September and must be returned personally at one of the Sunday Masses. Please watch out for announcements in the newsletter, especially regarding the deadline for applications.
The course begins in October with sessions for parents and then in November for the children. The course initially focuses on First Confession, which usually takes place in December. The First Communion Masses take place in May.
This sacrament completes the process of initiation into the Catholic Church and involves the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that the Christian life can be lived out maturely. The ordinary minister of the sacrament is the bishop.
In the Diocese of Westminster Confirmation normally takes place when the candidate is in Year 9 or above. Candidates must be baptised and be serious about becoming ‘adult’ Christians. It is customary to choose a Confirmation name (the name of a saint) and a sponsor, who should be a confirmed Catholic over 16 in good standing with the Church (and not a parent!).
Confirmation is currently celebrated every two years. Please watch out for announcements in the newsletter!
If you plan to get married, remember there is a civil and a religious side to the wedding:
For the religious side, you should see the priest at least six months’ before your preferred date so that paperwork and preparation can be completed. Do not make any bookings until you have spoken to a priest.
You should see your parish priest even if you intend to get married elsewhere. It is your local church that normally completes the paperwork.
You will need to provide some documentation – a Catholic, for example, needs to supply a new copy of the baptism certificate (made within six months of the wedding), confirmation certificate and a sworn affidavit to show that you free to marry. The priest will explain what is needed.
If one of you has been married before, then this will need to be looked at before you can proceed. Please see Fr Nicholas and he can advise you both.
If a Catholic is marrying a non-Catholic there should be no problem, although the paperwork is slightly more involved. A Catholic should get married in a Catholic church unless permission is received to marry elsewhere. As our faith is a precious gift, the Catholic partner promises to do all they can within the unity of the marriage to continue practising their faith and that any children will be brought up as Catholics.
You need to attend a marriage preparation course – the priest will give you details.
For the civil side, you will need to make an appointment with your local Register Office to give notice of your intention to marry. For those living in the Borough of Hillingdon this at the Civic Centre in Uxbridge (https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/34498/What-is-a-notice-of-marriage). They will issue the necessary licence, without which the wedding cannot take place. There is a small fee for this.