Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love.
The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life
The sacrament of Baptism not only gives us sanctifying grace: it also makes us adopted children of God and heirs of heaven.
Baptism is the one sacrament that all Christian denominations share in common. In the Catholic Church, infants are baptized to welcome them into the Catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with. Baptism is the first holy sacrament followed by: Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage and Holy Order.
Most Common Questions.
Many first time parents have questions about celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism. We hope your questions are answered here below.
When are Baptisms scheduled?
The Sacrament of Baptism is a wonderful opportunity for the Sacred Heart community to celebrate and welcome our newest members into the Body of Christ.
What is the role of the godparents?
They represent the larger Catholic community. They, along with the priest and the parents, welcome the child to the community and signify that welcome by marking the child with the sign of the cross. As a community, we are obliged to protect this newest member: guiding, advising, and nurturing the child as he or she progresses in the understanding of faith.
What are the requirements to be a godparent?
n order to be a Catholic godparent, a person must be:
At least 16 years of age;
A practicing Catholic who is Baptized and confirmed and has received First Holy Communion;
Someone other than the parents of the child to be Baptized;
And leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role they are about to assume.
We ask for a letter from their parish stating that they are members of that parish and eligible to be a godparent.
How many godparents can (must) I have?
It is customary to have two godparents – in this case one must be female and the other male. The Church does not make any provisions for more than two. Technically, godparents are not absolutely necessary – but it is the norm in our practice.
Do both godparents have to be Catholics?
Yes, a godparent, by definition, is necessarily Catholic – thus all godparents are Catholic. A Baptized Christian from another Christian denomination may serve as “Christian witness.” Jews, Muslims, and believers from other world religions may not serve either as godparents or Christian witnesses under normal circumstances but are always welcome to participate in the celebration.
How old should my infant child be to be baptized?
Under ordinary circumstances, parents should see to the Baptism of their infants within the first few weeks: “As soon as possible after birth, even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child and to be themselves prepared for it.” (Canon #876)
What if my child is no longer an infant?
A child who has not yet celebrated their 7th birthday is considered an “infant” in regards to baptism within the Catholic Church. As long as your child is less than seven years of age, the process and requirements are the same. Depending on the understanding and maturity of your child, this might be a wonderful opportunity for them to share in the preparation for the sacrament.
Are there Baptismal preparation classes for parents?
Yes, there are preparation classes. Please consult the parish calendar for upcoming classes.
Do both parents have to attend a Baptismal preparation class?
Yes, both parents must attend a Baptismal preparation class if this is their first child being baptized. If both parents have attended the Baptismal preparation class at some earlier time, we would welcome their participation but do not require that they attend again. Godparents are also welcome to attend.
Can we prepare for the Baptismal preparation class?
Because this important sacrament is an outward celebration of God’s grace where we enter into a new relationship with Jesus Christ and the Body of Christ, the Church, it serves as a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the significance of our own Baptism and the difference it has made within our own lives. If, after reading and reflecting on the article, you are unable to articulate anything of substance, you might consider what hopes you have for the newly Baptized child, and what special role you might play as they begin their Christian journey of faith.
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