New Baptistery for St George and St Teresa Church
Highlighting the Sacrament of Baptism in the Jubilee Year of Mercy
20th November 2016 Feast of Christ the King
“In Baptism we are `incorporated` into Christ becoming part of His Body, the Church, and called to enact in our lives the pattern of His life” (a “Pilgrimage Companion” for the Year of Mercy Cardinal Vincent Nichols).
We thank God for the wonderful gift of Baptism.
The Sacrament of Baptism
Pope St. John Paul II in June 1979. Stepping in to the Church where he had served Mass, received the scapular, and prayed daily during his youth, the 264th Bishop of Rome went straight to the Chapel that housed the Baptismal Font and venerated the place where he had been “born again” in 1920. Why? Because Karol Wojtyla knew that that day was the most important day of his life: the day when he was first empowered, by water and the Spirit, to become a friend of the Lord Jesus Christ and a missionary disciple. As John Paul understood it, the most important day of his life was not the day on which he was ordained a Priest, consecrated a Bishop, or elected Pope. The most important day of his life was the day of his Baptism. Everything else flowed from that, like the waters in Ezekiel`s vision, flowing from the restored Temple to renew the face of the earth.
(George Weigel in the Journal First Things January 2015)
Baptism is a special moment in St. George and St. Teresa. It is not just a celebration of birth, it is a new birth in the Holy Spirit, becoming a child of God. The Ritual brings this to life in the symbols: the Baptismal Shawl, the anointing with Holy oils, the waters of new birth, the lighted candle. It is that special grace of Baptism that we wish to highlight in creating a Baptistery for the Baptism Font on the occasion of this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Depicted by the Architect has been on display for a good deal of this year (2016) to allow people to comment; it has been amended in the light of this; if enough people are prepared to make a one-off contribution to the cost, it will go to the Diocesan Church Art and Architecture Committee for further refinement, and approval.
The Font will be near the interior entrance to the Church, but in a position visible to the Congregation- near the entrance because Baptism is the Sacrament of entrance into new life in the body of Christ. It will have a glass surround, letting light through and giving place for symbols – eg. the Holy Trinity, Water, The Holy Spirit/Dove/Tongues of Fire/Love, like our Tabernacle cover and Lectern fall. The glass surround would open on Sunday so that people could take the Baptismal Water as they bless themselves, remembering their Baptism. The small Baptistery created by the glass surround will have the Holy Oils of Chrism, Baptism and the sick in a special receptacle; and the Font, the same one we use now, would be lit specially to highlight and to remind us of the awesome gift of new life in Baptism. The Paschal Candle would be placed there.