Preparing For Your Child’s Baptism – Important Information
Thank you for calling to arrange a baptism for your child. The baptism for
_________________________ has been scheduled for _________________________, _________________________ at ____________________. Please be sure that you, the Godparent(s) and the child arrive at the church at least fifteen minutes prior to the service. Keep in mind that a spirit of reverence and respect is required at all times in the Church.
You will need the following items for the service. These items should all be new. They are traditionally provided by the Godparent(s), but that is left completely to your discretion. Please call if you have any questions.
A Cross and chain
A white undershirt
A large, white bath towel
Two white hand towels
A white flat sheet (twin size will do)
A small bottle of OLIVE OIL
A bar of white soap
Three white candles for the procession (one is the baptismal candle)
A cloth diaper (to line regular or disposable diaper and absorb Holy Oil)
A white baptismal outfit
Following the baptism, the child will be dressed in the baptismal outfit. Please keep in mind that the towels, the sheet, the diaper and the child’s undergarments will contain Holy Oil. Special care should be taken in cleaning these items. Before washing them, place them in a hand tub or wash basin filled with soapy water. Carefully wring the items to remove the oil, then wash them as usual.
Pour the contents of the basin into the ground outside (not down the drain) where it will not be trampled by people walking. This is out of respect for the Sacrament.
The service to be held will involve three Sacraments: Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion. BAPTISM is our personal Pascha experience: in the Font we die as the old Adam and are born anew in the Resurrection of Christ, the New Adam. CHRISMATION is our personal Pentecost experience: we receive the “Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit” through anointing. HOLY COMMUNION is received by the child after Baptism and Chrismation, who is mystically united with our Lord Jesus Christ through His Precious Body and Life-giving Blood.
For three consecutive Sundays thereafter, the Godparent(s) should accompany you and the child to the Divine Liturgy for Holy Communion. The child should also be brought for all Sundays and Feast Days of the Church. Sunday school, youth activities and regular attendance at worship service will help you and the Godparent(s) raise the child in the Holy Orthodox faith and in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS
The Church does not charge for sacraments. This is contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox faith. However, it does cost money to open the facility for any purpose. For this reason, the Parish Council has approved guidelines for the use of the facilities as follows: for members in good standing who are up-to-date with their stewardship giving, no usage fee is charged.
Although exceptions do exist, married couples and those who are single and living outside their parent’s home must make their own fair share pledge to be considered members in good standing.
USE OF THE SOCIAL HALL
If you wish to make use of our Social Hall for your reception, you must schedule it if you haven’t already done so. Please contact the church office first to check the date. Then make arrangements with the caterer if the date is available.
ELIGIBILITY OF GODPARENTS
If the Godparent is not a current member of our parish, then he or she should ask their parish priest to provide a letter indicating that they are a member in good standing in their home community. He should also provide their parish membership or pledge envelope number in the letter, and then mail it directly to All Saints Church in care of the parish priest. This letter must be received at the parish prior to the date of the sacrament.
According to the official Registry information of the Archdiocese,
a person who wishes to sponsor a candidate for Baptism and/or Chrismation in the Church must be an Eastern Orthodox Christian who is a member of an Eastern Orthodox parish and who is in good standing with the Eastern Orthodox Church. A person who has been excommunicated or anathematized by the Church or who, if married, has married outside the Eastern Orthodox Church may not become a Godparent. Also, members of the Church who are divorced might not be permitted to be Godparents in baptismal ceremonies.
Please check with the parish priest if you have any questions or concerns in this regard.
For your information, the Godparent or Sponsor is the person who actually receives the child from the font, and as such is the only one who signs the baptismal certificate. In many cases, the spouse or another friend may also participate in the ceremony. It is customary to also call the spouses a Godparent although their signatures aren’t recorded.
If more than one person is listed as “Sponsor”, please indicate which one will be receiving the anointing oil in their hands and then receiving the child from the font by underlining or circling their name. By instruction of His Eminence, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, only the actual Sponsor is permitted to do this and sign the form.
An information form is available from the church office. It should be filled out and returned as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the parish priest. May the blessings of the Lord be with you as you prepare for this great day.