The Sacrament of Baptism

Child
Parents
Father
Mother
Godparents
Godfather
Godmother

*At least one godparent must be a baptized, confirmed, practicing Catholic.

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. (Matthew 28:19)

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 sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism in the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word. (CCC 1213)​​

Congratulations and we welcome on your new addition!  For the convenience of the parish community, our Baptisms take place the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 2:00 pm, with some flexibility based on circumstances.

Baptism preparation instruction is required for first-time parents or parents who have not previously attended a class. Parents should realize that nothing is "Set in Stone" until everything is received and confirmed by the Parish Office.

Parents prepare for the Sacrament of Baptism by focusing on their role in bringing their child for initiation into the Church. The history and theology of this sacrament are covered in the class as well as having parents reflect on their own faith journey through discussion and exercises. The goal of our preparation is to deepen the parents understanding of and participation in the sacrament, thus enabling them to more fully accompany their child on his/her journey of faith. 

Preparation evenings are typically presented twice a month. Parents are asked to register in advance. So, please call the Parish Office at 540-347-2922 x201 to begin the process of scheduling the baptism.

Original copies of the Godparents’ sponsor certificates must be signed and sealed by the pastor of the Catholic Church where they are currently registered.

All forms must be turned into the Parish Office prior to the Baptism date being scheduled.

Once the Parent Request for Baptism and the sponsor forms for the Godparents are received, the Parish Office will schedule your child’s Baptism.

Baptism Guidelines

What are Sponsors (Godparents)?

Sponsors are witnesses to the Catholic faith who will pledge support of those who are to be baptized into the faith or who are seeking full membership into the Church through the sacrament of Confirmation.

What do Sponsors (Godparents) do?

They are to see that the person baptized or confirmed in the faith of the Catholic Church acts as a true witness to Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations connected with this membership.

Parents must provide sponsor certificates for each Catholic Godparent. At least one Godparent MUST be a practicing Catholic. The Godparent should contact the Church where he/she is currently registered to request a sponsor certificate.

If a Christian Witness is chosen to participate in and witness the baptism, no documentation is needed.

If two sponsors are chosen, one must be male, the other female.

For baptism, a parent may NOT be a sponsor.

Please note, a lapsed Catholic cannot serve as either a Godparent or a Christian witness. See the full set of requirements for Sponsors below.

GODPARENTS/SPONSORS:

Canon law requires:  1 Godparent.

If two are chosen, one must be a man, one must be a woman.

One godparent MUST be a practicing Catholic, MUST be up-to-date on all his/her sacraments, MUST be at least 16 years of age, MUST attend Mass weekly,  and if married, must be married in the Catholic Church.

If the other sponsor is not Catholic, he/she must be baptized Christian. They are recorded as a Christian witness in the baptismal records and on the certificate.

Non-Christians may NOT be sponsors (Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc).

Lapsed Catholics or a Catholic married outside the church may NOT be a sponsor for Baptism.

PROXIES:

If the godparents cannot make it to the ceremony, a proxy may be selected. The proxy must be of the same form as the godparent or sponsor (i.e. male Catholic must be selected to stand in for a male Catholic godparent; female Christian witness must be selected to stand in for a female Christian witness, etc). No sponsor forms are required for the proxy.

OTHER INFORMATION:

Parents who were not married in the Church: 

We will invite them to set up an appointment with the pastor to see about having their marriage convalidated. Most couples are willing to do this. Their particular circumstances determine the level of complexity in having this done, but that is for the pastor to decide and discuss with them.

Children who are not babies: 

We schedule Baptisms on the first and third Sunday afternoon for children from age 0-6. Children should be baptized at the earliest possible time. The parents of a child age 7 or over need to schedule a meeting with the Director of Religious Education to determine the best course of action.

We do accept sponsorship certificates (forms) from the godparents’ home parish.

They do not have to use our form. Please make sure they have had their pastor sign and seal the sponsor form. If the pastor’s signature or parish seal is missing, this could delay the Baptism. All forms should be mailed or brought to the parish office. We will accept a fax, but the original must be received at least one week prior to the Baptism.

 

The Sacrament of Baptism opens the door to a new life in Jesus Christ... a life that goes beyond our death and into the life of heaven after our death.

Baptism is the sacrament of salvation: an encounter with God that cleanses us from sin and makes us true children of God, sharing in his very own divine life.

This great gift is offered to all who believe and to the children of families of faith.  Since her earliest days, the Church has baptized adults and children because it is the only ordinary way God has revealed that we may receive the grace of salvation through this sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as St. Paul teaches in Romans chapter 6:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:3, 8, 11)

Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation.  The other two are Confirmation and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Children typically receive the other Sacraments of Initiation after reaching age 7 and before age 16.

Baptism of Infants and Children (under age 7)

Godparents

It is an ancient custom and also a requirement of Church law that each new Christian have at least one sponsor, traditionally called a godparent, who “together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations” of this new life. (Code of Canon Law, 872)

Church law and our diocese provide guidelines for the qualifications to serve as a godparent.  The reason for these requirements is to ensure that the new Christian will have the support they need from their sponsor who will promise to pray for them and help them as they prepare for other sacraments and seek to live out their baptism throughout their lifetime.

Baptism of Adults (and children age 7 and up)

Following the spread of Christianity in the first few generations after the resurrection of Jesus, the Catholic Church developed a process to prepare adults for entry into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Today, the Church calls this process the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA.  Through this process, those who express interest in becoming Catholic are welcomed into a special community within the parish to learn about the teachings of Jesus and his Church, to have their questions answered, learn about the new life in Christ offered by baptism, and prepare for the reception of the Sacraments.

Please contact us to get started!  Nothing more than an interest in learning more about Catholicism is needed to begin.  There is no pressure, only welcome and support as you freely journey towards union with Christ and his Church.

Children who have reached age 7 and have not yet been baptized are considered “adults” with consideration for the reception of sacraments.  This is because - at age 7 - they are able to take personal responsibility for their sins and are able to make a profession of faith on their own.  A special preparation process is provided for them.  Parents, please contact us so that we can help you get started.  It is never too late to baptize your children.

Common Questions

No. According to the Code of Canon Law: "To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor [for baptism], a person must . . . not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized" (CIC 874). We may be able to help you find a suitable person to serve as a godparent.

Traditionally, godparents often filled this role in the event that both parents died while the child is a minor. However, this is not the case in modern society. Any legal needs to provide for your children should be taken care of in addition to your child's baptism. While it may be the case that a godparent would make a very suitable candidate for this role, the Church does not make any connection between these unique roles in the care of children in this most difficult circumstance.

The centrality of Baptism

The Centrality of Baptism

Baptism gives us a share in the divine life

Bishop Barron on the Sacrament of Baptism

Why do we baptize infants?

Steve Ray: "Infant Baptism"

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