The Catechism speaks to us about the need for all to be baptised, children as well as adults. It is through my baptism that I start out on my journey from darkness to light, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of being a child of God. I could not even begin this journey without the grace God gives me at my christening.

However, my christening is only the beginning of my journey, a journey I don't make alone but as a member of God's Church in company with all who are baptised. The faith planted in me at my christening has to mature as I too grow olderThe catechism goes on to say:

For the grace of baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and the godmother who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptised child or adult on the road of Christian life. The whole Church community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given in Baptism.

The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptise them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for the sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that ensures entry into eternal happiness.
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1247 to 1257, passim

Dear Parents,

The birth of your child is a time of joy for your family; the christening will also be a time of celebration for the Parish. It is your free decision to have your child baptised. By taking this step you invite God to give his life of grace to one of your family. We also are delighted to welcome your child into the family of the Parish and the Church. Most importantly, you make a serious promise during the baptismal ceremony to bring up your child in the love of God and the practice of the Faith.

Time is needed before the christening to meet with the priest and the parish team to reflect on this promise, to discuss its importance and to pray about what this means for you and your child. Give time for me to visit you at home and for the one or two preparation sessions in the Haydock Centre for the actual day of the christening.

With every blessing and good wish.
Fr John Winstanley

A request for baptism - how to go about it

Please take time to reflect on the importance of the step you are taking when you ask for your child to be baptised.

1 Choose your child’s names - it is our Church's tradition to include a saint's name among those chosen for baptism.

2 Choose your child’s godparents - our custom is to have two godparents: godmother and godfather. Both should be “firm believers able and ready to help the newly baptised child … on the road of Christian life” CATECHISM OF THE CHURCH

3 Complete the online form or fill out a printed form from church and return it to the priest.

4 Meet Fr John personally after a 10.30am Sunday Mass to arrange a time for him to visit you at you home.

5 The date of the baptism will be agreed during Fr Jerome's visit.

Times for Christenings: at Penrith are during the Sunday or weekday Masses or 2.30pm Sunday afternoons except for the second Sunday of the month; at Alston on Saturdays during the Sunday Vigil 6pm Mass.

6 Obtain the items needed for the ceremony - a white christening shawl and candle are needed. Families often have a traditional shawl but an ordinary white shawl is adequate. Buy the baptismal candle from the Rectory or the church shop usually open on Sundays after the 8.30am & 10.30am Masses.

Permission for photographs during the ceremony should be obtained from the priest before the day itself, with only one allocated photogra­pher, as at a wedding. Your family and friends are free to use the church for photographs after the ceremony.

Permission should be obtained from the priest of the home parish for a child to be baptised in another Catholic Parish.

7 You will also be invited to the Haydock Centre to meet with Yvonne, Susanna and Simon, parishioners, which will give an opportunity to explain a little about the Sacrament, for you to ask questions and most of all to help you to feel welcome to our church and parish.

Supporting your Parish: its priest and mission

Our Parish is entirely dependent on its people for the financial upkeep of its church and mission‑work in the school and parish, an area which reaches from Alston to Troutbeck, from Armathwaite to Shap. The priest draws an annual salary of just £3,000 from parish funds. Otherwise he is dependent on people's voluntary donations at Christ­mas, Easter and on occasions such as christenings and weddings. Please make a offering. If you do not regularly support your parish you might make an extra donation for the upkeep of your church and its work for St Catherine's School.

At least one godparent to be a Catholic committed in their faith.