The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

Where the action happens - the Font.

The font is where we all began our lives as Catholic Christians – our journey of faith that will lead us to our true home in God’s heavenly kingdom. Through the waters of Baptism poured over our heads “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” we became new creations in Christ – a holy nation, a people set apart. The design of the font reflects that. Its shape is that of the womb symbolising a new  birth and its three sides represent the Three Persons of the Trinity in whose name all Catholics are Baptised.

Its place in the church reflects the thinking of the Second Vatican Council. When the church was built in the early 1960s the original font (now standing by the door in the church porch and holding holy water) was in what is now Our Lady’s Chapel. The sacrament of Baptism was something very private shared among the family and godparents. Following the thinking of the Council sacraments became celebrations of the whole community. None of us makes that journey of faith alone. We do so as members of a worshipping community and it is only right that the community should take an active part in welcoming its newest members. The font came out of hiding and was placed in front of the sanctuary so that when the sacrament is celebrated, especially during the Mass, those present can support the child, family and godparents through their prayers.

In many older churches, for example at St. Edburg's which was Catholic until the Reformation, you will find the font by the main doors. This reflected the thought of baptism being the person’s entry into the Church. 

The lower floor level in the old baptistery (now the Piety Shop and hidden under a false floor) reflects its former use. As one of the prayers used at the Easter Vigil reflects: “May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life.” By descending the steps we go down into the tomb with Jesus to re-emerge to new life in Him through the resurrection.