"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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded of you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Baptism is the first sacrament celebrated in the process of becoming a full member of the Church community. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Baptism is, like all the sacraments, a gift from God. Water is the universal symbol. Water is absolutely essential for all life. Water cleanses and restores. It is the waters of Baptism which give us new life. In accordance, through Baptism we die to ourselves in order to be restored and resurrected in the new life of Christ.
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1279).
INFANT AND CHILDREN BAPTISM
Faith of the Parents
Baptism is always based on faith. Infant baptisms are based on the faith of the parent(s). The Roman Catholic Church requires that for an infant to be baptized there must be the "founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion." In practical terms, this means that at least one parent must be a practicing Catholic and have the intention of raising the child in the faith.
Further, new families/parishioners must be active in the parish for four months or otherwise obtain a letter from their previous pastor stating that they were active in the faith in their former parish before beginning sacramental preparation at St. Maria Goretti.
Infant baptism is for children under the age of 7 (the age of reason). Once the child reaches their seventh birthday they go through the process discussed here, adapted for children.
All parents wishing to baptize their child must attend a Baptismal Preparation class held on the third Saturday of each month at 10am in the Parish Office area. You only need to attend one class. No RSVPs need. You can just show up! Godparents are encouraged to attend as well. Parents who have been through the Baptism class at St. Maria Goretti within the past five years may be excused from attendance but need to visit the Parish Office to register for a baptismal date.
There are to be one or two sponsors. If two sponsors, one should be male and the other female). At least one sponsor must be:
- a practicing Catholic;
- fully initiated (has received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation);
- at least sixteen years old
Each Catholic sponsor from outside the parish should obtain a sponsor certificate or letter from their pastor stating that they are a practicing Catholic. They should send the sponsor certificate or letter into the Parish Office (Attention Administrative Assistant) in advance of the day of the baptism.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does St. Maria Goretti do individual or group baptisms?
We do individual baptisms.
When do baptisms occur?
The usual times for baptisms are Saturdays after the 4:30pm Mass or Sundays after the 10:00am Mass. To schedule a Baptism, contact the office. No more than five baptisms may be scheduled at one time. Baptisms are not scheduled during Lent.
Where in the church does the baptism occur?
In the back of the Church around the Baptismal Font.
How many Godparents should we have?
You should pick one or two godparents only.
Can we choose anyone to be Godparents?
No, you should chose them based on their ability to help you raise your child in the belief and teachings of the Catholic Church. If you have two Godparents, it must be one man and one woman, but only one needs to be a confirmed Catholic who is in good standing (an active, registered parishioner of a parish). If you have only one godparent, they must be a confirmed Catholic in good standing. Both godparents must be baptized Christians. The role of Godparent isn't an honorary duty on the day of baptism, but a lifetime of shared faith with the child.
What if a Godparent or sponsor cannot be at the baptism?
A second person, who is not Catholic, may function as a witness; this person must be a baptized Christian. If a sponsor cannot be at the baptism, that person can still be a sponsor. The substitute or "stand in" is called the proxy. A proxy does not need to be Catholic.