What is Baptism?
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 children of God; we become members of Christ and are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1213)
Church law permits priests or deacons to baptize the children who are full time or part time members of their parish. Except in an emergency, the Rite of Baptism can only be celebrated in a Catholic Church building.
When an adult is baptized, Baptism follows a rigorous period of instruction. In contrast, when a child is baptized, the Baptism precedes instruction. In light of this, the Church requires that parents give the assurance that upon the child’s Baptism, the child will be given every benefit of Christian and Catholic upbringing. The primary responsibility of raising a child in the ways of faith rests with the parents. This obligation begins with Baptism and extends all the way into adulthood.
Parents are required to attend a Baptismal preparation class prior to scheduling a Baptism. The Baptismal preparation classes are held on the first Saturday of the month (unless it falls on a holiday weekend) from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in Room E. No pre-registration is required.
Godparents should be chosen by parents primarily to be good religious examples to their child and not because the wish to bestow a family or social honor. The role of godparents is to help their godchild lead a Catholic Christian life. Godparents will be asked to assist parents in teaching the child about their Catholic Christian faith and as representatives of that community give witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
Because the godparents share with the parents the full responsibilities of the Sacrament, it is recommended that they also attend the Baptismal preparation class. The godparents should be present at the baptism to profess their faith as representatives of the child’s extended spiritual family and of the whole Church. During the liturgy, they declare their readiness to help the parents “in their duty as Christian mothers and fathers.”
Who can be a godparent?
- must be at least sixteen years old;
- must be a practicing Catholic in good standing in the Catholic Church;
- have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist;
- if married, they must have been married in the Catholic Church by a Catholic priest;
- may not be the child’s parent;
- must be able to produce a sponsor/godparent certificate from the church where they are registered and active giving them permission to serve as godparents if not registered members of St. John Neumann;
- only one male and one female may be chosen as godparents.
A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic church community can participate as a witness to the baptism ONLY if the other person meets all the requirements necessary to be a godparent..