Opening the door to the sacraments

BRIGHTON -- It’s the “gateway” sacrament; most receive it as infants and only begin to appreciate its implications as they grow older. It’s the Sacrament of Baptism.

More than 150 priests, deacons, and parish baptism coordinators and preparation team members gathered on June 12 at Bishop Peterson Hall to share experiences and gather ideas about “best practices” for baptism preparation.

Father Brian Mahoney, director of the archdiocesan office for worship presented the keynote address, emphasizing the need to use the Rite of Baptism as the starting point for planning any preparation program. Since the current rite focuses attention on the responsibility of the parents this should be the starting point that leads to a deeper understanding of the grace the child receives and the Christian life he or she will be living with parental care and love.

Breakout sessions helped sharpen ideas and clarify issues connected to baptism; job description and qualities needed for a parish baptism coordinator; some aspects of theology and canon law; and the importance of parish leadership in the preparation program.

Organizers were pleased with the response from parishes and the response from many attending was that the presentations were helpful both personally and pastorally.