Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1213
Frequently Asked Questions
- When should I have my child baptized? We encourage parents to baptize their child within the first few weeks after they’re born. We do, however, ask parents to attend a baptism preparation class before presenting their child for this sacrament. We want to ensure parents understand the sacrament and their roles in raising the child in their Catholic faith. Even if your child was not baptized as an infant (or before the age of reason – about 7 years old), we would love to help you provide your child the graces God grants through the sacrament of Baptism.
- What if my child is older than 7 years old? No problem – we can provide a personalized plan to prepare your child for baptism.
- Do both parents have to be Catholic? No, the Church only requires that one parent be an actively practicing Catholic. The Catholic parent is required to “make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.” The spouse of a different faith needs to be clearly informed about that promise.
- What if the parents of the child are not married? That won’t impact your child’s eligibility to be baptized. We do encourage you to pursue a sacramental marriage!
- What if we were not married in the Catholic Church? That won’t impact your child’s eligibility to be baptized. We do encourage you to pursue having your marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church!
PREPARING FOR BAPTISM
- Do I need to be a member of the parish? We ask that you be a registered and “active member” of a Catholic parish.
- Does it cost anything to have my child baptized? As with all sacraments, parishioners are not charged a fee for baptism. It is customary to give a gift (stipend) to the celebrant of baptism. The amount is at your discretion.
- What are the steps to have my child baptized? (Step 1) Be registered and active members at a Catholic parish. (Step 2) Attend a baptism preparation class offered on the first Sunday of each month. (Step 3) Schedule your baptism on an available date via our Baptismal Registration Form.
- What if I have already taken a Baptism preparation class? If you’ve already taken a class (related to a prior baptism), you’re all set. You don’t need to take another class.
- How are baptisms scheduled? When and where are they held? We schedule baptisms after parents have completed the Baptism Class. Baptisms are celebrated in the church at 11:30 a.m. on the third Sunday of every month.
- What if I want a visiting priest or deacon to celebrate the Baptism? We can help arrange that. Be sure to tell us about that when you are scheduling the baptism.
- How many godparents may I have? Only one is required, but you can choose up to two godparents, one godfather and one godmother. If you have just one, he/she must be an actively practicing Catholic. In addition to the minimum of one Catholic godparent, the Church does allow for a baptized Christian to stand in along with the Catholic godparent. They would then be called a “Christian Witness.”
- What are the requirements for being a godparent? The Catholic Church’s Canon Law (872-874) says that at least one godparent must be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church and: At least 16 years of age; Received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation; If married, it must be a valid sacramental marriage; Not be bound by canonical penalties; Not be the father or mother of the child to be baptized. The second godparent, if not Catholic, must be a baptized Christian; he/she is called a “witness.”
- What if we don’t have a Catholic family member or friend available to be a godparent? Don’t worry, we can help identify an actively, practicing Catholic who can step forward as godparent.
- What if a godparent is unable to attend the baptism? Back to canon law, it requires that a Catholic adult be present at the baptism ceremony. You and the godparents can designate (in writing) someone to be a proxy for the absentee godparent. If you know beforehand, please notify us of the proxy’s name! If it happens the day of the baptism, be sure to notify the priest or deacon – they have to note it on the documentation.
- Can I change godparents later? If the godparent(s) don’t follow through in this spiritual relationship, you can definitely decide to engage other family or friends to support you and your child in this role. However, godparents listed in the official baptism register can never be changed since they were the historical witnesses to the baptism and entered into a permanent spiritual relationship with the baptized.
- What should my child wear for their baptism? A white garment is traditional, signifying the cleansing received in the waters of Baptism and the purity of beginning a new life in Christ. You may wish to change your child into this garment once you’ve arrived for the baptism. Allow extra time for this!
- What should parents and godparents wear for the baptism? You may want to dress as you would for a special family celebration. We ask that family and friends dress in a way that’s respectful of the sacred space.
- What do I need to bring to my child’s baptism? If you haven’t submitted eligibility letter(s) for the Catholic godparent(s) registered at another parish, please bring these letter(s) to the baptism. We’ll take care of all of the sacramental needs, like the baptism candle.
- What time should we arrive? Arrive at least 15 minutes before the baptism to allow for parking and getting situated in the church.
- How long is the Rite of Baptism? Community baptisms last approximately 45 minutes.
- May we take pictures during the baptism? Yes! You may also take pictures afterward. We just ask that photographers be respectful of the sacred space and reverent for the occasion.
- What will I need to say during the baptism? Don’t worry. During your Baptism Preparation class, we will discuss that with you. At the baptism, if you forget, the priest or deacon will prompt you.