Baptism is the basis for 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 [original] sin and reborn as sons [and daughters] of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the Sacrament of regeneration through water and the word.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213
Baptism is perhaps the most important of all the Sacraments because it is the Sacrament that allows us to receive all others. There are a few expectations that the Church has for the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism for infants. (If you are seeking information about Baptism for Adults, please see the information under Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, RCIA).
Expectations of the Parents:
- At least one parent must consent to having the child Baptized (or the person who legitimately takes their place)
- There must be a founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith.
For there to be founded hope that a child will be raised Catholic, the parents, or at least one, should be striving to practice and live their Catholic faith. At a minimum, that would mean trying to follow the 5 Precepts of the Church, which are as follows:
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season.
This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
“The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.”
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
“The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.” CCC 2041-2043
If the parents are not parishioners of St Gregory – Our Lady of Fatima Parish, then they need to have a letter sent from the pastor of their parish stating that they are active parishioners and that he is ok with the Baptism taking place at St. Gregory – Our Lady of Fatima
Expectations of Godparents
The role of a Godparent is to assist the parents in raising the child in the life of faith, helping them to learn how to lead a Christian life in keeping with the Church and the Gospel and to faithfully fulfill the obligations of Baptized persons.
According to Canon Law, the Godparents are to meet the following requirements:
- Must be at least 17 years old
- Must be a fully initiated Catholic, having received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
- They also must be striving to live a life of faith according to the Catholic Church
- Must not be bound by any canonical penalty
- Must not be the mother or father of the one to be Baptized
The Church only requires one Godparent. If there are going to be 2 godparents, one must be male, and one must be female.
If either godparent is not from St. Gregory – Our Lady of Fatima, then a letter from their pastor needs to be sent confirming that they are a baptized Catholic striving to live a life of faith.
Location of Baptism
According to the law of the Church, the proper place for the Sacrament of Baptism to be celebrated is in a church or chapel, and specifically for infants, in the parish church of his/her parents. Namely, the church to which the parents are members, unless there is just reason for a different location.
What is an example of a just reason for having our child baptized at a church other than the one we regularly attend?
- We no longer live in Hart or Shelby, but all our family does, St. Gregory or Our Lady of Fatima were the churches we grew up in, and it would cause grave inconvenience for our family members to travel for the Baptism.
- Distance or other circumstances make it extremely difficult for us to take our child to our parish church for Baptism.
What is not a “just reason” for having our child baptized at a church other than the one we regularly attend?
- The church we want our child to be baptized in is very beautiful.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Sacrament of Baptism
The following questions are answered by the website www.canonlawmadeeasy.com