Our Bishop Warfel, Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, requests that parents bringing their child for baptism must attend a minimum of two baptism preparation classes (in Mary Queen of Peace Parish usually first Thursday night of the month).
Godparents must also attend a class here at Mary Queen of Peace Parish. Godparents must also be verified by their pastor or his delegate as a Catholic meeting the requirements for being a Godparent.
All documentation must be received at least two weeks prior to the baptism, or the baptism will be rescheduled.
Baptism is usually celebrated during Sunday Mass by first anointing the child with the blessed Oil of Catechumens, then by immersion in water or by pouring water on the child’s head while the words “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” are said. The child is then anointed with Sacred Chrism, and a lit candle is presented to the Godparents (which symbolizes the child is a new creation, enlightened by Christ).
Baptisms are generally celebrated during the Mass and throughout the calendar year. We do not celebrate baptisms during Lent.
Baptism, the first and fundamental sacrament is the gate to the other sacraments. Baptism is the purifying and sanctifying sacrament of rebirth and the means by which its recipients are incorporated into the Church in a bond of unity.
Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. This sacrament is the foundation for all ministry and life in the church, and confers a commitment to follow Christ and spread his message throughout the world. Furthermore, in baptism, one is incorporated into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and thus participates in the gift of resurrection and eternal life with Christ. It is the sacrament that frees a person from original sin and makes that person a member of Christ and His Church, thus being the way to a new and spiritual life. One must be baptized before sharing in any of the other sacraments.
Infants can be baptized soon after birth. At the time of baptism, parents vow to practice their faith and provide a Catholic upbringing for the child. Adults and children over the age of seven who have never been baptized take part in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), and will typically be baptized at the Easter Vigil.
Adults: Adults preparing for baptism go through a process known as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Persons discerning their call to become Catholic generally attend classes for one year prior to the Easter Vigil. Sometimes adults are baptized at the Easter Vigil, and receive the sacrament of Confirmation immediately after their baptism. Adults then receive Eucharist for the first time during the same liturgy.
Children: Children who are of catechetical age (ages 7 to 18) can be provided with catechetical training for their particular grade level.
Classes will be held according to a candidate’s availability.
Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. It is the sacrament that frees a person from original sin and makes that person a member of Christ and His Church, thus being the way to a new and spiritual life. It is administered by immersing the recipient in water or by pouring water on the person’s head “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. One must be baptized before sharing in any of the other sacraments. Baptism is the foundation for all ministry and life in the church, and confers a commitment to follow Christ and spread his message throughout the world. Furthermore, in baptism, one is incorporated into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and thus participates in the gift of resurrection and eternal life with Christ.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who must attend RCIA?
People who have not received the sacrament of Baptism must attend RCIA for an extended period — ideally, a year, and preferably longer. The length of the process depends greatly on your readiness for the reception of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
I’m already baptized in another denomination. Do I need to attend RCIA?
That depends. The Catholic Church doesn’t re-baptize people who are already baptized. If you are baptized but never received any instruction in the faith, you should receive instruction now and finish any sacraments you didn’t complete. We strongly recommend RCIA, even if you have been well instructed in another faith tradition, since you will need to learn how the beliefs and practices you grew up with differ from the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.
I think I was baptized, but am not sure. What kind of information do I need to join RCIA?
If your church or congregation kept records, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your baptismal record — a certificate or a letter from the pastor there. Because locating records can be difficult or time-consuming, you should try to obtain these records as early in the process as possible. We must see these records to confirm your baptismal status before you’re received into the Church. If your church or congregation did not keep records or no longer exists, we can discuss this privately.
I’ve been divorced but am not remarried. Can I become Catholic?
Yes! Unless you plan to marry, you do not need to obtain an annulment. If you are planning to remarry, you will need to have your prior marriage reviewed to see if you can be declared free to marry in the Catholic Church.
I’ve been divorced and am remarried, and my spouse is divorced and remarried. Can I become Catholic?
You and your current spouse need to begin the annulment process, and you should begin it as soon as possible even if your spouse is not considering entry into the Church. Please contact Fr. Jose for information on how to proceed. Of course, you can attend our RCIA instructions while the annulment process is ongoing. But reception into the Church has to wait until the annulment process has been completed.
What is the cutoff date for joining RCIA?
Currently, RCIA starts the first Thursday after Labor Day in September and runs through the weekend of Pentecost (about 10 months later). Unbaptized persons who have had no previous religious instruction should join as early as possible, and are encouraged to take more than the 10-month period. For other people, the “cutoff date” depends on your faith level and readiness to receive the sacraments.
How long does RCIA last?
Inquiry sessions (also known as Pre-Catechumenate) take place all year long. Inquiry is designed to help you decide whether you want to continue, since RCIA is a serious commitment. Please note that although Baptism and reception into the Church occur at Easter, RCIA does not end until Pentecost. This is a time for you to consolidate what you have learned, and to explore more about life in the Catholic Church. All new Catholics who complete RCIA are urged to attend Neophyte sessions.
My schedule doesn’t permit me to attend your sessions. What should I do?
There are a couple of options. We may be able to arrange catechesis in a private setting with our pastor, Fr. Jose, or with our director of religious education, Daphne Sutton.
I heard I need a sponsor in order to become Catholic. What is that, and how do I get one?
A sponsor is a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who accompanies you on your journey through RCIA. The sponsor has the job of helping you through the process, and of verifying at the main rites that you are ready to take the next step. For baptism, the sponsor may become your godparent, with more serious responsibilities toward the catechumen being sponsored. Or you may choose someone else to be godparent. If you don’t know anyone, the parish will provide a sponsor for you.
I know who I want my sponsor to be, but that person doesn’t live locally and can’t attend sessions. Can that person still be my sponsor?
Yes. However, we will provide someone locally to represent that sponsor, accompany you on an ongoing basis and instructions and the rites with you. At the Easter Vigil, the sponsor you prefer will then stand in the local person’s place as your official sponsor.
I have children. Do you provide child care?
Unfortunately, no. If you need child care, you should arrange your own, or (if your children are well behaved) you can bring them to instructional sessions. If childcare is still a difficulty, please contact our director of religious education, Daphne Sutton.
How old should a person be to attend RCIA?
Technically, old enough to understand what is being taught. For children of catechetical age (ages 7 to 18), we can provide catechists for their grade level.
What texts do you use and how do I get them?
We use Foundations in Faith, the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We provide other materials — a syllabus of subjects covered, handouts, and occasionally printed materials, as well.
Fr. Jose Marquez to schedule an appointment
The Pastor will meet with individuals in a private area known as the confessional. This is located at the entrance of the Mary Queen of Peace church. As there may be a group of people, you are requested to wait quietly in line. As one person leaves the confessional, the next person may enter and close the door to begin the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When finished, the confessional door may be left open for the next person.
If there is a special circumstance where one cannot participate during the allotted times, then request an appointment with the Pastor.
Fr. Jose is usually available an hour before Mass, or by appointment.
Confession, penance and reconciliation – all three words refer to the same sacrament offering the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Not only does the Sacrament of Penance free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. Pope Francis has said Confession is an encounter with Jesus whose “mercy motivates us to do better.”
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God’s gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). While all the Sacraments bring us an experience of the mercy that comes from Christ’s dying and rising, it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is the unique Sacrament of mercy. (USCCB.org)