The Sacrament of Baptism
“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
Baptism is the first Sacrament celebrated in the journey to become a full member of the Catholic Church. The waters of Baptism symbolize life and death, washing and cleansing, and the mystery of new life out of death.
Baptism welcomes adults and children into our Community of Faith and initiates them into the “Family of God.”
With young children, Baptism calls for a commitment on the part of the parents and godparents to bring them up in the practice of the Catholic Faith. Thus, it is necessary that you and your baby’s chosen godparents be spiritually prepared and committed to raising your child in a faith-filled home. According to Canon Law #868:
“there is to be well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is…to be deferred and the parents advised of the
reason for this.”
Hence, it is the responsibility of the Pastor of the parish, as directed by the Church, to safeguard the integrity of all sacraments received in his parish. Baptism should take place as soon as possible after the child’s birth but with sufficient time for proper preparation.
Children who are seven years of age or older must receive instruction in the Church before baptism may take place. So, some necessary questions parents must ask themselves when they request baptism for their child are:
- Do we attend Holy Mass on a weekly basis and practice our Catholic faith, regularly receiving the Sacraments?
- Have we received sacraments of First Communion & Confirmation? Are we married? In the Catholic Church?
- Are our children receiving regular Catechesis and preparation for other sacraments?
Although the lack of or non-practice of any of these things by the parents will not prevent the baptism of your child, you need to be aware that the Church will expect that regardless of what it might have been in times prior, your attendance at Mass and reception of the sacraments will be faithful and regular from this point on and that you will strive to practice your Catholic faith to its fullest.
It goes without saying that your involvement with your Church and your love for God will be an important part of yours and your children’s lives.
All baptismal records are entered as per the information contained in the county-certified birth certificate, regardless of whether or not the child’s parents are married, may no longer be married or in the event they may be remarried to someone else.
In order to simplify the process for everyone, there are general guidelines that the Catholic Church dictates: