A child’s baptism is often a special time, and is usually undertaken when the child is very young and at the direction of their parents.
But for six primary school children in the Blue Mountains, they have made their own decision to be baptised.
Patrick, Perran, Kamran, Ayla, Cooper and Harry from St Canice’s Primary School, Katoomba, were baptised with the support of their families and school community during a special ceremony at St Canice’s Church, Katoomba, in February. St Canice’s is part of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Parish, Upper Blue Mountains.
“I wanted to get baptised to get closer to God and to get closer to the Catholic faith,” candidate Kamran said.
“Before my Dad died, he said I could choose the religion I would like to follow. I chose to be a Catholic. I wanted to be part of the Catholic family,” candidate Cooper said.
The children were relaxed and reverent as they were each baptised and anointed by Fr Carlos Walker IVE, parish priest of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Parish, Upper Blue Mountains.
“The children, along with their families, were active in making this decision [to be baptised],” St Canice’s Principal Miriam Meaney told Catholic Outlook.
“Essentially, the children gathered their families into our Catholic community through the Sacrament of Baptism.
“Traditionally, when it comes to baptism, it is the role of the parents to bring their children to the Sacrament,” Miriam said.
During the ceremony, Fr Carlos expressed his joy at being invited to baptise the children, and told the children that through baptism, God now lives inside their hearts.
“The Mass with the students and the families of the candidates was very beautiful as one could sense the great excitement not only of the candidates but of their fellow students as well,” Fr Carlos told Catholic Outlook.
“Personally, for me it was very special to celebrate those baptisms. For instance, since those young candidates knew what was happening, after the water was poured on their heads some of them turned around to say to me ‘Thank you!’ while filled with joy and with a big smile on their faces – which is something I had never experienced before during a celebration of baptisms.
“The whole parish welcomes the families of the newly baptised into the parish community.”
When asked about why baptism is important, the children said that it brings them closer to God and that you become part of the Catholic community.
After the baptism, the children were presented with crosses by the student leadership team and Mrs Meaney.
Former Religious Education Coordinator and teacher at St Canice’s Alan Wedesweiler, who helped organise the service, told Catholic Outlook “it was an amazingly awesome opportunity for our school to bear witness to this ancient initiation ritual and to stand in solidarity and support for their fellow students as they continue their faith journey.
“The baptism ceremony was another opportunity for our school to continue to deepen the relationship between the school and the parish.
“I thank Fr Carlos for nurturing the faith of our school and his total openness and eagerness to welcome these ‘Children of God,’” Alan said.
Mrs Meaney added, “the words ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ take on a new meaning when we think of how these children reached out to the community, how the community responded on the day and how it will, I am certain, continue to respond.
“It was an event not to be missed and a highlight in my life as a Catholic leader. I am deeply grateful to Fr Carlos, Alan, the children, and their families for enriching and strengthening our community in this way.”