Baptism and Chrismation

How to Become Christian

In order to become Christian, one must be baptized in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All human beings deserve to be baptized and become Christians because God our Father is the God of all people and our Creator, and his son Jesus Christ has made him known to us through his incarnation (John 1:18). So it is not only fitting, but just for us to worship him. The process of becoming Christian consists of a catechumenate phase in which a catechumen will attend and participate in the liturgy regularly and be taught the basic teachings of Christianity, either one on one with a catechist or the pastor, or with a class of other catechumens, addressing topics such as the life of Jesus, how to read Sacred Scripture, what are the mysteries, how to pray, history and traditions of the Church, who are the Saints, what is the liturgical calendar, basic theology, etc. At the end of this phase, the catechumen will have the option to be baptized, chrismated, and receive First Communion if they truly wish to become a Christian and a member of the Body of Christ. The time of catechumenate usually lasts around one year for adults, though this may be shorter depending on how much the person already knows. It is important that those who become Christian truly understand what it means to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24-26). Though one year of study may seem like a lot, it is nothing in comparison to the eternity we hope to spend with God in our true home in heaven. In the Early Church, the period of catechumenate was typically much longer (around three years) in order to make sure people were thoroughly educated about the faith and genuine in their conviction to dedicate their lives to God our Father.


Baptism in the Eastern Churches is always accompanied by chrismation (equivalent to confirmation in Western Christianity) wherein one is sealed by the Holy Spirit. Both sacraments are administered by a priest, and always in the same ceremony. Baptism is done by pouring water over the head. Adults who have already been validly baptized into another Church are not baptized again when entering the Maronite Church, for we each become members of the Universal Catholic Church and Body of Christ when we become baptized even if one is not yet aware of the teachings of the true faith. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”


Preparation is required to receive the mysteries of baptism and chrismation. For adults who wish to be baptized into the Maronite Church or who just want to learn more, please contact our parish office to set up a time to meet with our pastor. For parents wishing to have their children baptized, please also contact our parish office, preferably before the birth of your child, and fill out the child baptism form below and email it to us at office@ollchicago.org or print it out and drop it off in the collection basket.


What is Baptism?

The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from original and personal sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life. One is not a Christian unless they are christened in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is what initiates one into the covenant with God as the fulfillment of circumcision.

 

In baptism we are reborn as children of the Father. We are made into the image of Jesus, and we become his living ­Body in the world today. We become sisters and brothers to one another with God as our Father, and we become heirs to heaven and eternal life with the Most Blessed Holy Trinity. Just as the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary when he intimately united the Son of God with her body at the Annunciation, so are we united to Jesus through the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit in baptism. Through baptism we become God's Holy People, his Church, the Mystical Body of Christ and temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). We share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and we commit ourselves to make his mission our own mission. It is the will of God that all people be baptized, for he himself was baptized in the Jordan River to set an example for us, and he himself said "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:16-20). Therefore, all human beings deserve to be baptized and enter into this new covenant with God through Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.


The mystery of baptism requires that we surrender ourselves over to a new life in the footsteps of Jesus, which includes walking with him as he carried the cross. To become baptized takes much, much longer than the few seconds that the water is washed over us. Rather, to become baptized takes a lifetime. It takes a lifetime of cooperating with God's grace to become a changed person, and it takes determination to keep going when we fall. Baptism does not require but rather demands dying to self to live for Christ. Hence, baptism requires a firm commitment from the person whenever they seek to be baptized. It requires that same firm commitment from parents when they seek to have their child baptized. The parents solemnly promise God to do all in their power to raise their child as a Maronite Christian by their virtuous example and encouragement in the faith. It also includes doing all that is possible to have this child educated in that same faith through attendance at religious education classes and by regular participation in the Sunday liturgy. As parents and godparents of a child to be baptized, you are making the first step for this child to become incorporated into the Church. On behalf of Our Lady of Lebanon, we value your commitment and welcome your newly baptized child into our parish community and into the universal Church. 


Baptismal Symbols

Water: The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.

Oil: At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.

Light: A baptismal candle is lit as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.

White garment: The white garment that one wears at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that as creations of God we are destined for eternal life with God in heaven.


 




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