Sacrament of Baptism
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.
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 is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213)
- Basic Guidelines and Information –
- Parents are responsible for bringing their child to the Sacrament of Baptism as soon after birth as possible. Except in case of necessity, the church is the usual place of baptism.
- In order that a child be baptized, it is necessary that the parents’ consent, or at least one of them, or someone legally standing in their place, and that there is reasonable hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith.
- Godparents – Catholics must have fully initiated Catholics as godparents; that is Godparents in a Catholic baptism needs to be a practicing Catholic and also needs to have received the three sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. A Godparent cannot be expected to mentor a godchild if the Godparent himself/herself hasn’t received all of the sacraments of initiation. A person may have one or two godparents (also called sponsors). A godparent must be chosen by the parents, have the ability and the intention to fulfill the role and be at least 16 years of age. Neither the father nor the mother of the child.
- Christian Witness – a baptized person who belongs to another Christian community may be admitted only as a “Christian witness” (not a godparent/sponsor) provided that there is at least one Roman Catholic godparent who fulfills the above criteria. A non-baptized person cannot be a witness. This Christian witness must also be the age of 16.
- Baptism Preparation –
- Contact the parish office (518) 449-2232, Ext. 11 and express your desire to have your child baptized.
- Open yourself to the invitation to actively join the faith community of your parish. If you are not registered parishioners, please consider becoming involved in the prayer and celebration of the Sunday Eucharistic community.
- Participate in a baptismal preparation session. These sessions are held monthly and are approximately one hour long. The parish office can schedule the class. It is important to take your faith-life seriously because, before God, you have taken on an awesome responsibility for the salvation of another – your own child.
- If you are living in a parish other than the Church of St. Mary and want your child baptized at the Church of St. Mary, you should take your baptismal preparation session in your parish and have a testimonial letter from your Parish Priest sent to the Church of St. Mary.
- Godparents Responsibilities –
- This privilege as a godparent offers you the opportunity to develop a mutually enriching relationship – one that will last throughout this life and beyond.
- Godparents make a promise to God, to the parents, to the child, and to the Church proclaiming a covenant to witness gospel attitudes and values in the parent’s life and in the relationships that will develop with this child.
- As godparents, you are proclaiming that you will be a Christian community for the child being baptized. You say you will surround this child with care concern, support, faith, trust, challenge, and compassion as they mature.
- There are special ways a godparent can nurture this spiritual relationship and become a special friend to your godchild. Among them are:
- Celebrate the anniversary of this holy day of Baptism each year with a visit, a call, or a card.
- As your godchild grows, listen to, and share in the struggles and triumphs of living a Christian life.
- Encourage a consistent life of faith.
- Participate in or send assurance of prayer, as your godchild receives the other sacraments.
- Be supportive of your godchild’s parents in their role as the primary religious educators of their child.
- And most importantly, become a model of Christian living for your godchild through daily prayer, virtue and active participation in parish life and liturgy
- Other Information
- The above information applies to baptism of an infant or young child. If you have a child to be baptized who has reached catechetical age/the age of reason (Grade 2 or 7 years), you and they will receive different preparation. Please call the parish office at (518) 449-2232, Ext. 11 for more information.