Connect families with the church and each other during the period of Infant Baptism Prep and beyond through Post-Baptismal Groups. Scroll down for more details.
This idea was shared by Denise Emery (Diocese of London, Chatham ON). The Infant Baptism Coordinator and a couple already involved in the Post Baptismal Group (PBG) are introduced to a family that is bringing their infant for baptism. The PBG members attend the sacramental baptism of the family and begin to accompany the new couple. The PBG group sends a package to the home of the baptized child, addressed to the child’s name. Packages are sent every 3 months from baptism until the age 5 (or for some time if the child is older). The packages include a card, prayers and prayer cards, CDs, books, rosaries, bracelets that say, “I love Jesus”, etc. The packages also include websites, information, programs, and events that they can connect to encounter Jesus, and grow in faith as a family. For ongoing outreach, the child receives a card on his/her baptismal anniversary, that congratulates them and recognizes their baptism, no matter how old the child is.
The program also keeps families connected with other families. Post-Baptismal Groups are an opportunity for couples to meet other families in the same stage of life and form small groups. These small groups can do a number of different things, such as:
- Meet with their babies and talk about development, parenting, difficulties that arise, and support each other in prayer and love.
- Have a book club that reads Catholic parenting books and then discusses the themes.
- Have playgroups or music for tots that begin in prayer and have small meditation/petitions for parents.
- Organize field trips to build friendships in faith with the hope that children will grow up knowing other children who practice the faith.
- Have a couples night to celebrate marriage and support marriage.
- Socialize together.
- Learn about Theology of the body, and NFP, more about the Bible, etc.
In 5 years they have doubled in size of people and volunteers. Denise shares the fruits of the ministry. She said, “I can’t think of any better way to try and connect families with the Church, who are either too busy or have left the Church, or that are concerned about their faith in any way. This program has had one of the biggest effects on young families with their faith, as they have told the pastoral minister."