Infant Baptism

Dear Parents,

We are very happy to prepare your family for the celebration of Infant Baptism. For Catholic Christians, Baptism is the beginning of all Christian life. It is a free gift from our loving God. We do not deserve it, and yet He makes us His Children in Baptism. Through Baptism every child becomes a members of the Body of Christ and member of the Catholic Church.

Why do we baptize? On the great Feast Day of Pentecost God poured out his Holy Spirit into the Church. On Pentecost, St. Peter preached to the multitudes: ”Repent, and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:37).  Whole families, parents and children, were Baptized. Since then the ministers of the Church have offered this Sacrament to all who asked for it.

Jesus instructs his disciples to: “Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).  The difficult work comes after Baptism, namely to teach a child all that Christ has taught us in what we do and what we say. During Baptism, parents and godparents vow before God to teach their child the Catholic Christian faith so that when their child grows up, he/she can personally choose to follow Jesus Christ. Parents are the first educators of their children in knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ.

Who can be baptized as an infant?

Infant Baptism includes all children age 6 and younger. Children 7 years of age and older need to be able to personally accept Jesus Christ as their savior, learn to pray, and know about the Sacraments (see Baptism for Children 7 years old and Older). 

Who can be a godparent?

•  Please select people who will be Catholic role models for your child. Godparents are called to walk with your child throughout his/her life, to pray for them, encourage, and when needed, give them advice. Ideally godparents will be present at their godchild's First Communion, Confirmation and wedding.

• One godparent (male or female) is required who is an active, practicing and fully initiated member of the Roman Catholic Church. This means that he/she needs to have received the Sacrament of Confirmation and, if married, be married in the Catholic Church.

•  A second godparent may be chosen. If there are two godparents, they must be a man and a woman.

•  Protestant Christians may be invited to be one of the godparents. Our brothers in Christ are called Christian witnesses because they witness to Christ, believe in the Trinity, the Bible and the importance of attending Church. Godparents witness to the Christian faith as passed down by the Catholic Church, including the Sacraments.

•  You may have only two godparents, or a godparent and a Christian witness. You may not have three godparents.

•  If the godparents are married, it must be within a marriage of the Catholic Church. Civil ‘marriages’ are not sacramental. In effect, you are cohabiting with another individual without formally inviting God into your marriage, and promising before God to be faithful, total, and fruitful in your marriage. 

•  Minimum age for godparent is 16 years.

What do I need to do to register to Baptize my child at St. Anthony the Abbot?

  1. Be committed to praying with your child, attending Mass every Sunday, and being active Catholic Christians.
  2. Contact the Parish Office at least three months in advance to allow time to receive the packet of information. (We also welcome new members who desire Baptism for their child. Please contact the Parish Office to schedule an appointment with the Pastor.)
  3. Parents need to attend the Baptism Preparation class if you have not done so within the past two years.
  4. Submit a copy of the child's Birth Certificate (not the original) with the other required paperwork.
  5. If your godparents are coming from another parish, they need an Eligibility Letter.
  6. If you are a member of another Catholic church and are considering Baptism at St. Anthony Church, you are asked to acquire a Letter of Permission from your parish.

When are Baptisms celebrated?

The Rite of Baptism is normally celebrated on Saturday morning or afternoons during the year outside the season of Lent. 

THE ROLE OF GODPARENTS

To be chosen as a godparent is a special honor. You, above all others, have been entrusted with the responsibility to participate in this child's Christian life and education.

This privilege offers you the opportunity to develop a mutually enriching spiritual relationship, one that will last throughout this life and beyond.

There are many ways you 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, and keep yourself informed on Catholic Christian doctrine and values, to be able to answer questions as they arise.
  • Encourage a consistent life of faith through special cards, letters, or gifts which celebrate holy events such as Christmas and Easter and also personal growth events such as graduation, first job, engagement. (Gift suggestions: a bible, spiritual book, rosary, religious jewelry, gift certificate for religious goods/books, retreat opportunity.)
  • Participate in, or send assurance of prayer, as your godchild receives the other sacraments, particularly First Communion and Confirmation, which complete initiation into the Church community.
  • 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.
Be living a Christian life in partnership with your godchild,
both of you will experience the great joy of sharing a life of faith.