Sacraments are wonderful times in our lives when we come into loving, intimate contact with God. God is always in relationship with us. He loves us, His children, and wants us to be connected to Him, to know Him and to experience His love.
Given the relational nature of Sacraments, we caution against the intrusion of an attitude derived from our consumer driven society that associates Sacraments with a commodity, as something we ‘get’ or that is due us. We approach the Sacraments as we would approach the Sacred itself, for, indeed, they are sacred occasions in which we are called to holiness. By celebrating and living the Sacraments we are united to God and the extraordinary happens—we are in touch with and transformed by divine Grace.
Our Understanding of Baptism
Baptism is the foundational Sacrament because through it we become God’s adopted children, his sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of Jesus. God bestows on us His Holy Spirit to live inside us, thus we become “temples of the Holy Spirit.” We become members of the Body of Christ, the People of God, the Church.
~ From the General Introduction of the Rite of Baptism
“Baptism is the door to life and to the kingdom of God. Christ offered this first sacrament of the new law to all men that they might have eternal life. He entrusted this sacrament and the gospel to his Church when he told his apostles: “Go, make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore Baptism is, above all, the sacrament of that faith by which men and women, enlightened by the Spirit’s grace, respond to the gospel of Christ. That is why the Church believes it is her most basic and necessary duty to inspire all, catechumens, parents of children still to be baptized, and godparents, to that true and living faith by which they adhere to Christ and enter into or confirm their commitment to the new covenant.
Further, baptism is the sacrament by which men and women are incorporated into the Church, built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit, into a holy nation and a royal priesthood. It is a sacramental bond of unity linking all who have been signed by it.
Baptism, the cleansing with water by the power of the living Word, makes us sharers in God’s own life and his adopted children.
Far superior to the purifications of the old law, baptism produces all these effects by the power of the mystery of the Lord’s passion and resurrection. Those who are baptized are engrafted in the likeness of Christ’s death. They are buried with him, they are given life again with him, and with him they rise again. For baptism recalls and effects the paschal mystery itself, because by means of it men and women pass from the death of sin into life. Its celebration, therefore, should reflect the joy of the resurrection.”
~ Parents’ Role
Congratulations on the birth of your child! The Parish shares in your joy, and we are happy to welcome your child into the Church through Baptism. By requesting Baptism for your child, you are committing yourself to share the Catholic Christian faith with your child, to form him/her in the way of the Gospel and teachings of our Catholic Tradition so that he/she knows God and is in relationship with Him. Neither custom, nor family, nor superstition carries your child to the Baptismal font. It’s your own faith and love of God that does. It is a disservice to the Sacrament of Baptism when it is celebrated without the serious intention of practicing the faith. The weeks in anticipation of your child’s Baptism might be a time for you to attach yourselves more closely to Jesus and to our Catholic faith.
~ Preparation Meeting
All Catholic parents are required to attend class prior to the celebration of the Baptism of their first child. The class is held on the second Sunday of each month at 1:15 p.m. at the Parish Hall and is intended to refresh parents with the theology of Baptism. Parents are asked to register with the rectory office prior to attending class. The Baptism reservation form may be completed at the class, over the phone or at the office.
~ Godparents’ Role and Qualifications
Godparents, or Sponsors of Baptism, are meant to be, along side of the parents, examples of Christian life in the Catholic tradition. Their role is to help by the witness of their lives to guide the child to faith in Jesus Christ and in His Catholic Church.
For this reason Canon (Church) Law requires that Godparents/Sponsors must be:
*at least sixteen years old
* themselves Catholics who are confirmed
* attending Mass and living a life in harmony with our Faith and the role they are undertaking
*if married, the marriage is canonically valid and recognized as such by the Church.
Parents must select a person of each sex when they are choosing two Godparents.
In today’s society when many baptized Catholics are not actively worshipping and/or living the Catholic faith, selecting qualified relatives and friends sometimes is a challenge. Often families express difficulty identifying two individuals who meet the qualifications. Again, since the Law speaks of “a sponsor” a family needs one individual—male or female—who is a Catholic living the Catholic faith. A Baptized non-Catholic may act as a witness to Baptism with the Catholic Sponsor but is not afforded the title “Godparent.” Parents, themselves, are not permitted to act as a Godparent/Sponsor.
~ Dates & Times of Baptisms
Baptisms are celebrated in English at 1:15 p.m. on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month. The second Sunday is reserved for Baptisms in Portuguese; the fourth Sunday for Baptisms in Spanish.
Alternately, parents may choose to have their child baptized during Mass, except on holidays.
~Arranging a Baptism
To request Baptism for your child, please contact the Parish Office. You may complete the registration form in person, over the phone or by mail.
Anointing of the Sick
Illness and suffering sap our strength, cause anxiety and uncertainty, can break our spirit and make us glimpse death. We turn to the Lord for help. In this Sacrament we pray for the healing and strengthening of body and spirit. Jesus, who during his earthly life showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and healed those who sought him, has the same compassion for us. He comes to us to give us peace and comfort in mind and body.
Anyone who is infirm, growing frail, undergoing an operation, or nearing death should avail himself or herself of this Sacrament. Arrangements for a priest to come to one’s home or to a nursing home to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick are easily made by calling the rectory office.
Congratulations on your decision to marry! We are delighted that you have chosen to enter into a Sacramental marriage within the Church. As you become involved in the exciting planning of your wedding day, we encourage you to also maintain focus on the centrality of your spiritual preparation. As the saying goes, the wedding is a day; the marriage is a lifetime. (WeddingMusicForm) ( Wedding Music Options)
~ Church Requirements
The Diocese of Bridgeport requires that you give the church a minimum of six month’s notice of your intention to marry. However, it is common practice and very advisable for a couple to contact the church much more in advance in order to find out whether the church is available on the desired date.
~ Requesting a Wedding
The parish priests will not accept a wedding until after having met with the couple and determining the freedom to enter into a sacramental union. To make an appointment with one of our priests, please call the parish office or send an email. During the appointment, the priest will explain the requirements for your church wedding, book your date and time and provide you with information about the diocesan marriage preparation program, Pre-Cana. You will be given the Parish guidelines for the celebration of weddings at St. Peter and a booklet to aid you with the liturgical celebration.
~ Who may marry at St. Peter Church?
Church Law (Canon Law) allows Pastors and their assistants to perform marriages for only Catholics living within the territory of the Parish. Any Catholic living in and belonging to the Parish may request marriage here. Men and women who grew up in the Parish but whose lives have taken them elsewhere may celebrate their marriage at our church. Today, many young Catholics do not affiliate with a parish. Many others with no ties to St. Peter Church or from out of town choose a venue for their wedding reception in or around Danbury and seek a nearby church for the ceremony. The Pastor considers requests for marriages from non-parishioners on an individual basis, weighing the demands of the Parish calendar on the church space and his time.