BECOMING CATHOLIC: THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
Baptism is the first of the three sacraments of initiation into the Church, the others being Confirmation and the Eucharist. It is the basis of the whole Christian life, “the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments." In Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as God’s sons and daughters. We become members of the Body of Christ, the Church, and share in her mission. St. Paul tells us that through Baptism we partake spiritually in Christ's death and Resurrection: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized 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). In so doing, we have "put on Christ" and are made holy.
Baptism is received only once in a lifetime because this Sacrament imparts an indelible character on the Christian's soul.
In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is given in a special way to unite us more perfectly with Christ and his Church, make us more truly God’s sons and daughters, increase our zeal to carry on Christ’s mission in his Church and strengthen our witness to Christ in the world. Like Baptism, Confirmation imprints an indelible mark on the soul and so is received only once.
Our initiation is completed at the table of the Eucharist, where, receiving the body and blood of the Lord, we are nourished to live the new life in Christ we received in Baptism and which was strengthened in Confirmation. Regular reception of the Eucharist is the means Jesus gives to live the new life to which he has called us.
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Family is happy to welcome you and assist you in your discernment.
God works in our lives in many different ways. Sometimes we encounter God in everyday moments – in a conversation with a friend, in a connection made with a stranger, in the laughter of a child, in the beauty of nature. Other times we meet God in extraordinary moments – when we face an illness or celebrate a wedding, welcome a new child or bid farewell to a loved one. We also respond to God in many different ways. As Catholics, we primarily respond to God’s invitation into relationship through initiation and ongoing participation in the life of the Church.
Becoming Catholic Christians is a gradual process of turning our minds and hearts to God, deepening our commitment to Jesus, and opening ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit in the midst of our community of faith. Through the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), God offers us grace to help us live more faithfully as followers of Jesus Christ.
BAPTISM OF INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN
Catholic families typically bring their youngest members for Baptism while they are still infants. When they reach school age, these children enroll in Catholic School or Religious Education classes to supplement the faith formation they are receiving at home. When they are ready, these children receive First Eucharist and Confirmation.
For more information on baptizing your infant or young child CLICK HERE.
To learn about enrolling your child in St. Thomas the Apostle Religious Education classes CLICK HERE.
UNBAPTIZED ADULTS AND OLDER CHILDREN
Sometimes people seek baptism when they are older. Adults and older children who have never been baptized prepare for initiation through a gradual process called the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (abbreviated RCIA). Through prayer, scripture, community, and service, our parish family accompanies these individuals on their journey of conversion as they turn from their old way of life and begin to live as Catholic Christians. In the year when their spiritual preparation is complete, they receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.
BAPTIZED ADULTS SEEKING CONFIRMATION AND EUCHARIST
Sometimes Christians baptized in non-Catholic communities seek to follow Jesus as a Catholic. Sometimes Catholics who were baptized as infants seek the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist later in life. We strive to adapt the initiation process to the individual circumstances of these baptized candidates. When they are ready, we joyfully celebrate the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist with them.
PRACTICING CATHOLIC ADULTS SEEKING CONFIRMATION
Sometimes practicing Catholic adults (age 18 and up) have never received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Each spring, we offer Confirmation preparation for these adults. We meet weekly throughout the seasons of Lent and Easter and gather for a special day of prayer before celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday.
If you are thinking about becoming Catholic or preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, or Eucharist as an adult, contact Cindy at 516-489-8585 or Cindy.StThomas@live.com to discuss your own spiritual journey and discover how the St. Thomas Parish Family can accompany you as you take the next step on your journey of faith.