Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation. Through Baptism, we are brought into the Body of Christ and also into official membership in the Catholic Church. Our sins are washed away and we are reborn as sons and daughters of God, united with Christ in his death and his resurrection.
Many parents bring their infants and young children to the Catholic Church for Baptism. At least one parent makes a profession of faith for the child, and promises to bring their child up with a basic understanding and practice of the Catholic faith. The parents receive instruction in the meaning of Baptism and their obligations as the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith, usually at the parish where their child will be baptized.
Godparents, or sponsors in addition to the child's parents, also make a profession of faith on behalf of the child, and promise to support and aid the parents in their role as teachers and models of the Catholic faith. A godparent must be over the age of sixteen and have received all the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist / First Communion) in order to serve as a godparent.
Before reaching the age of reason (usually considered to be around age seven), the child receives the sacrament of Baptism only. The other sacraments of initiation (Confirmation and Eucharist/ First Communion) are delayed until the child reaches approximately age seven for Eucharist/ First Communion and between the ages of thirteen and sixteen for Confirmation.
After reaching the age of reason (usually considered to be around age seven), minors are treated as adults in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Therefore, any child who has already celebrated their seventh birthday and is brought to the Cathoic Church for Baptism will receive all three sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist / First Communion) in the same ceremony, after a suitable period of preparation and instruction.
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