Baptism: Faith + Grace
Congratulations on the arrival of your new baby! Our Catholic Community joins you in thanking God for the gift of new life. As you are seeking the baptism of your child in the Roman Catholic Church, the following guidelines are presented to help you embark upon this journey of faith with Christ and his Church.
Scroll down to fill out the baptism request form.
More about baptism in the Catholic Church
By Baptism we are adopted into God’s family and become members of Christ’s mystical body, the Church. Jesus becomes our brother and Mary, his mother, our spiritual mother while every other baptized Christian is our spiritual brother or sister. Baptism leaves a spiritual mark of belonging to Christ on our soul which can never be deleted.
The first Christians accepted the faith as adults but were determined that their children should receive the new life which they themselves had embraced as soon as possible. In Catholic tradition therefore children are baptized soon after birth, ‘within the first few weeks’, to welcome them into the Church. Baptism is a Sacrament of great joy; it is our first encounter with the Lord.
Parents (or guardians) take on the responsibility for raising the child Catholic when they ask for baptism. They are the ones responding to the baptismal promises on behalf of the child. When asking for a Catholic baptism, the parents or guardians must be able to say with confidence that the child will be brought up within the Faith. This includes taking the child to Mass, teaching them the Faith, praying with and for them, and making sure they receive the sacraments including reconciliation, first Communion, and confirmation. The role of the parents is a crucial aspect of any infant baptism, and must not be taken lightly.
Infants should have a sponsor and may have two sponsors (one male, one female). The sponsor should not be less than 16 years old, and must be a baptised, confirmed and practising Catholic. The father or mother may not act as the child’s sponsor. If a child is the first to be born in a family, the parents and, desirably, the godparents will be invited to attend a session of Baptism Preparation.
More About Baptism
What is it?
Form and Matter
Valid and Licit
It is impossible for a baptism to be invalid and licit, because all invalid baptisms are also illicit. However, a baptism can be valid and illicit. An example of this would be if a lay person baptized someone using the baptismal formula and pouring water over their head, but doing so without being in an emergency situation that requires such action. Another more specific example would be if the parents of the child being baptized said during the ceremony that they will raise the child in the Faith, but are lying and don’t actually intend to do so. It is very important for baptisms to be both valid and licit, making the form, matter, structure (baptismal promises, vows of the godparents, baptismal candle, etc.) and meaning (the “why” behind it all) of the sacrament of great significance.
What It Does
St. Paul describes baptism as the “first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:14). According to aboutcatholic.com baptism does five things:
- It forgives all sins that were committed before baptism including original, mortal, and venial sin.
- It makes the baptized a new creature.
- It turns the baptized into a newly adopted son or daughter of God and a member of the Church.
- It brings them to share in the royal priesthood of Christ. (1 Peter 2:9)
- It leaves a spiritual mark (or character) of belonging to Christ on the soul of the baptized.
It serves as the foundation of communion within the Church, and the initiation into Christ’s Body the Church. With this initiation comes a sort of seal, St. Augustine calls it a “character.” This character, which is the fifth thing that baptism does in the list above, is “like a brand imprinted on a soldier that cannot be removed.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks upon this character as well, saying:
“No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation … The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity” (CCC, 1272 and 1273).
Baptism orients the soul not only to worship God and serve him with their lives, but also to take part in his kingly, prophetic, and priestly offices.