What is Baptism?

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life with God. It is the first and foundational sacrament of the Church and the path by which we are given access to the other sacraments, namely: Confirmation, the Most Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. Each sacrament is constituted by a visible, material reality through which an invisible, spiritual reality is communicated to the soul. The material and visible elements of Baptism are the pouring of water together with the proclamation of the words: “I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” These visible, material elements communicate to the soul the spiritual, invisible effects of Baptism: (i) the forgiveness of Original and personal sin, (ii) the gift of God’s own life (grace), (iii) access to life in the Church. Baptism causes the soul to be spiritually born into life with God, just as our natural birth causes us to be born into earthly life. The Lord Jesus himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation, when he declares (Jn 3:3-6): “I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

From antiquity, the Catholic Church has baptised not only adults but also infant children. Just as parents have a duty to provide for the many physical and material needs of their children from infancy, so Catholic parents have a duty to provide for the spiritual needs of their children by having them baptised and actively raising them in the Catholic faith. As the Youth Catechism explains: “It is an injustice to deprive a child of Baptism out of a mistaken liberality. One does not deprive a child of love so that he can later decide on love for himself; so too it would be an injustice if believing parents were to deprive their child of God’s grace in Baptism. Just as every person is born with the ability to speak yet must learn a language, so too every person is born with the capacity to believe but must become acquainted with God and the faith.”

When is Baptism offered?

The Sacrament of Baptism is offered at St Bernard’s at 11.00am on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. We require at least two months notice before a Baptism. To book a date for the Baptism of your child, contact the Parish Office. Whilst we will do our best to accommodate your requested date, we cannot guarantee that your first preference will be available. When booking a Baptism date, you will be directed to complete a Baptism Registration Form and to attend our Baptism Preparation Course. Information about the preparation required for Baptism is available below.

St Bernard’s Baptism Dates
12th & 26th February 2022
12th & 26th March 2022
9th & 23rd April 2022
14th & 28th May 2022
11th & 25th June 2022
9th & 23rd July 2022
13th & 27th August 2022
10th & 24th September 2022
8th & 22nd October 2022
12th & 26th November 2022
10th December 2022

Baptism Preparation Course

In asking to have their child baptised, parents and godparents assume the privilege and responsibility of raising their children to live the Catholic faith. The parish of Saint Bernard’s, together with the whole Church, is here to support families with the information, resources and encouragement that is needed in order to raise a child in the faith. One of the key ways to prepare for the Baptism of your child is by attending our Baptism Preparation Course.

St Bernard’s Baptism Preparation Course involves two separate sessions. Each session begins at 11.45am and concludes at 4.00pm. An outline of the course is provided below:

Baptism Preparation Course Overview

Session One: The Catholic Faith
11.45am | Arrive & Register
12.00pm | Why God?
1.00pm | Lunch
1.30pm | What’s our story?
2.30pm | Break
2.45pm | Presenter testimony
3.00pm | Why a Church?
4.00pm | Close

Session Two: The Sacrament of Baptism
11.45am | Arrive & Register
12.00pm | What is Baptism?
1.30pm | Lunch
2.00pm | The Rite of Baptism
2.45pm | Break
3.00pm | Raising Catholic Children
4.00pm | Close

Baptism Preparation Course Dates

St Bernard’s Baptism Preparation Course will be offered four times during 2022. It will be held in the Parish Centre adjacent to the church. The dates of St Bernard’s Baptism Preparation Course for 2022 are:

April Course
Session 1 – Saturday, 9th April 2022
Session 2 – Saturday, 23rd April 2022

June Course
Session 1 – Saturday, 11th June 2022
Session 2 – Saturday, 25th June 2022

August Course
Session 1 – Saturday, 13th August 2022
Session 2 – Saturday, 27th August 2022

October Course
Session 1 – Saturday, 8th October 2022
Session 2 – Saturday, 22nd October 2022

Parents of children being baptised must attend both Session One and Session Two. Godparents must attend Session Two but are welcome at Session One. Each session includes lunch. During lunch, you will have the opportunity to meet our priests, catechists, and other parents and godparents. So that you can give our presenters your full attention, we request that you arrange care for your children while you attend the seminar. Bacchus Marsh families are welcome to attend the Preparation Course at St Anthony’s in Melton South if it is more convenient. St Anthony’s Baptism Preparation Course dates visit www.stanthonyofpadua.com.au/infantbaptism. To register, please contact St Bernard’s Parish Office by email or phone.

A completed Baptism Registration Form (available for download at the bottom of this page) together with a copy of the child’s birth certificate must be submitted (by email or in person) to the Parish Office before the Baptism Preparation Course and at least two months prior to the proposed date of Baptism.

Baptism Donation

Upon registration, you will be asked to make a $150 donation to the parish. The donation is payable electronically. The donation breakdown is as follows: $100 donation to the baptising priest, $50 donation for the Preparation Course (covers catering, workbooks for Session Two, and Baptism Stole).

You will also need to purchase a Baptism Candle. We have some available through the Parish Office; otherwise we recommend the candles available at Handmade by Fiona (www.handmadebyfiona.com).


Godparents form a spiritual relationship with their godchildren through Baptism. They share their own faith and encourage their godchildren to live a life of holiness. During the ceremony, godparents make solemn promises before God and the Church to honour their own Baptism and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Your child may have a maximum of two godparents (one male and one female). Godparents must be baptized practicing Catholics. At the discretion of the priest, and as long as there is one Catholic godparent, a person baptized in another Christian Church may be permitted to act as a Christian Witness in place of the second godparent. Non-Christian persons cannot be godparents.

Visit Us

St Bernard’s Catholic Church
61 Lerderderg Street
Bacchus Marsh VIC 3040

St Bernard’s Parish Office
Tuesday–Friday | 9.00am–1.00pm
03 5367 2069

Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church
309 Myrniong-Korobeit Road
Korobeit VIC 3341

St Bernard's Catholic Church

Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church