Holy baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children 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.”
Baptism is a sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” the response is: “Baptism!”
For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
This day will be the beginning of life in Christ and life in the Church for your child. We hope as well that it will be an opportunity for re-commitment to your faith for yourselves. Please keep the following information in mind in preparation for your child’s baptism:
- We ask that only the parents make the baptismal arrangements.
- Baptism of a child makes sense when one or both parents practice the Catholic faith regularly (by going to Mass on Sundays, praying, living in accord with the commandments). The preparation classes we offer have as their purpose to encourage you to reflect on your faith in Christ and the commitment to it that is implicit in your decision to have your child baptized. Parents are obliged to attend the class. Godparents should also attend.
- Children may be baptized without first having received catechism through the 1st grade. After that, they should enter PREP to prepare them for Baptism and First Communion.
- Parents who are not married or are not married in the Catholic Church are strongly encouraged to talk to a priest as soon as possible. Since your marital status affects your ability to practice your faith fully and receive the sacraments, it will also affect your ability to give a good example of Catholic life to your child.
- Godparents must be Catholics who have been baptized and confirmed and they should be at least 16 years old. They should be practicing Catholics, going to Mass on Sundays and receiving Communion regularly. If married, they must be married in the Catholic Church.
- At a minimum there must be one godparent. There are normally two godparents, one man and one woman. There may not be more than two godparents, and only one man and one woman.
- In order to make sure that we have the correct information about the child in our records, we ask for a birth certificate.
- If one parent is unable to attend either the class or the baptism, we ask for a letter from him/her authorizing the baptism of the child.