Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church community. It is a Sacrament of Initiation for it not only initiates one into the Catholic Church but also in the local faith community. Baptism opens a person up to the Life of Christ. Baptism is necessary for salvation.
Infants are not capable of making a proclamation of faith on their own, therefore, the responsibility of faith rests on the parents. It is the parents who are choosing Baptism for their child. It is the parents who must provide an atmosphere of love and faith in their home. It is the parents who will introduce their child to the Church.
Every baptism is a solemn action of the Church. Therefore, the families of the ones to be baptized must be active members of the local church.
All members of the parish should join in our love and concern for those who are to be baptized into the Catholic Faith Community.
Requirements for Parents
- At least one parent must be registered in the Parish for at least four (4) months. They are expected to be practicing members of the faith by weekly attendance of the Saturday Evening or Sunday liturgy. Parents are encouraged to participate in Parish activities and to strive to fulfill a Catholic lifestyle.
- Parents must register in the parish, and attend a Baptismal class at least two months prior to the Baptism. The first Saturday of each month from 11:00-12:00, in the Parish Life Center, is set aside for this instructional class. You must register for this class by calling the parish office, at 243-3742.
- In cases where one of the parents is not Catholic, that parent is expected to be in support of the Baptism and committed to the child’s religious development.
- Parents of children to be baptized are expected to consider themselves as the primary religious educators of their children. It is from the parents that the children learn to love God, to love others, to do good and avoid evil. Parents are expected to make prayer a part of their home life, teaching their children to pray with them.
- Parents of children to be baptized are expected to be committed to the formal religious education of their children. Through our Religious Education Program or our parish school, children learn about the beliefs of the Church and are prepared for the reception of the Sacraments.
- Parents who find their faith lacking or who do not regularly participate in the Eucharistic Celebration of their parish should seriously consider whether Baptism should be delayed until they are ready to accept the responsibility of raising their child in the Church. In these cases, the parish priest and/or deacon may be able to guide them through the instruction and prayer to a deeper faith commitment and understanding of what the faith involves.
- Parents residing outside the parish who wish to have their child(ren) baptized at St. Mary, must obtain permission from the pastor of their home parish and his indication that they are active members of the parish before the baptism would be possible.
Requirements for Godparents
Parents should give serious consideration to prospective godparents. Although family pressures often exist, godparents should be chosen primarily for their faith commitment. Their responsibility is joining with the parents and supporting the baptized person in their lifelong Christian commitment. Since the godparents are representatives of the larger Christian Community into which the child is to be baptized, they should be practicing Catholics. For pastoral reasons, however, one godparent may be a practicing Christian of another denomination.
Godparents outside of the parish must obtain written notification from the parish in which they are registered indicating that they are in good standing with the Church.
Godparents, if possible, are encouraged to attend the Baptismal class with the parents. This meeting gives the meaning of the sacrament and the rite of Baptism, along with the responsibilities they are undertaking.
Godparents must be at least 16 years of age and have received the Sacraments of Initiation.
Celebration of the Sacrament
Parents are encouraged to invite family and friends to the Baptism in order to make the Sacrament more of a celebration. Baptism also becomes an excellent opportunity for any Christian to renew their faith and make a commitment to the new member of the Church.
The day of the Baptism can be a great day for both the child and the parents. It is the responsibility of all the members of our parish not to allow it to become an empty ritual, but to help it be a sign of God’s life in our Church.
Baptisms are celebrated after the 11:30 Sunday Mass on the First and Third Sunday of the month. Baptisms may be celebrated during a Sunday Mass if the schedule of all parties permits. If for pastoral reasons this is not a good time, another time may be worked out with one of the priests and/or deacons depending on their availability and the availability of the Church.
The process for the Initiation of children of catechetical age is the same as the process for Initiation of Adults into the Church. The process of initiation is adapted to faith and level of understanding of the child. Thus as with adults, the initiation is based on the readiness of the child. This process is done through the Religious Education program of the parish.
The Sacraments of Initiation for children of catechetical age are to be received at the same liturgy. It may be advisable for such youth to be fully initiated at the same time as their catechetical companions who may be receiving First Communion or Confirmation.
If an adult comes to our church seeking baptism, we shall spend a period of time preparing that person for this great sacrament. The adult would receive instructions about the teaching of Christ and the Life of the Church. Finally, the one to be baptized would be asked to make a faith-filled commitment to all he or she has learned. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.). In the ordinary process of Adult Initiation, the new Christian is Baptized, Confirmed and receives First Communion at the same liturgy. This takes place at the Easter Vigil.
Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the Word. CCC 1213
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