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Circular 2012-5: On the Sacrament of Baptism

February 14, 2012

Memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius

My dear brothers and sisters  in Christ:

In the spirit of pastoral concern and as an act of vigilance for the preservation of our Catholic faith and tradition, I address these instructions to you about the sacrament of baptism. Baptism is the door that opens Christian life for us consequently paving the way for the other sacraments of the Church. We have sadly noticed a diminishment in the proper understanding of this very important sacrament.

First, we wish to stress emphatically that the baptisms of infants must be scheduled a few weeks but not later than three months after birth. Ideally, as soon as the mother has recovered her strength after the child’s delivery, the baby must be rushed to the Church for baptism.

Secondly, we must bring back the primacy of baptism as a spiritual birth of a child into the family of  God. It must not be reduced to a mere social event necessitating a party or banquet.

Thirdly, the proper color for baptism is white. It is advisable for parent and godparents to be dressed in white in order to signify the cleansing from original sin that they seek fro the infant in their arms.

Lastly, please be reminded of the admonition of Pope Benedict XVI about giving names to our children. The Pope urges parents not to give their children names that are not included in the Christian martyrology and to refrain from choosing different names, even if these are in fashion. “Every baptized person acquires the character of ‘child’ starting with their Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit gives birth ‘anew’ to infant from the womb of the Church.”

I am requiring our priests to have these instruction read after the Post Communion Prayer during all Masses for the First Sunday of Lent this year. Please accept my cordial assurances of pastoral esteem and affection.

Sincerely yours,

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

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