From a reader…
What constitutes solid “prep” for parents of an infant to be baptized?
I (34, married, 4 kids) have been charged by our pastor with prepping the parents (one Catholic, one non, first child) of an infant to be baptized in our parish. I want to be thorough and formal, so I’m not asking our DRE. It seems like a great moment for catechesis, so I’d rather not just “put some stuff together.” Any suggestions of a text?
I can’t recommend a particular resource. I’m not sure that a book (or video, or pamphlet) is the key here. Any basic resource in the right hands can be good, and an excellent book in the hands of someone who is inept is not going to fill the necessary gaps.
What goals are we seeking to accomplish? If we’re trying to fill in for a complete lack of catechesis due to shoddy Catholic schools, poor family backgrounds, and a lack of interest, it’s simply not going to happen in a one or two-session baptismal prep.
Ideally, parents have been raised in solidly practicing Catholic families, and/or attend Catholic schools where they learned the basics of the faith, developed habits of daily prayer, regular confession and weekly Mass attendance, while internalizing good moral discernment.
This is now relatively rare.
The purpose of baptismal preparation in these less-than-ideal situations is to try to impress upon the parents the need to live up to the responsibilities that they are agreeing to in having their children baptized.
Do they realize that they have a responsibility towards the young one? Do they understand that, in agreeing to have their child baptized, they are saying publicly, “We, the parents, are going to come to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day from now on”? Do they understand that they have a responsibility to teach their child the basics of the faith, which also that they have to know the basics of the faith? If they don’t already know these basics, do they realize that they spend the time and energy to learn?
One must convey all of this in an inviting way. If you can get the parents to understand that this a great adventure, that living the Catholic faith to the fullest extent is the best way to live a happy and fulfilling life, then you are on to something. It’s a daunting task. You have a limited amount of time available to you. Pray to the Holy Spirit for inspiration, and to the guardian angels of the parents and of the child to guide you in saying the right things.