The Sacrament of Baptism
For children under the age of 7 years
This is a joyous time for your family as you take this step in the faith life of your child and we encourage parents to baptize children within the first weeks of life. If your child is seven years of age or older, there is a different procedure so please contact the parish office for more information.
Parents, please read the following information carefully as it is meant to help you prepare for the sacred celebration of your child’s Baptism. Once you have read all of the information, you may fill out the online registration form on right side of the page. Only parents or legal guardians may request the sacrament of Baptism for their child and may complete the online registration form. We cannot baptize the child without the parent’s knowledge and participation.
Please note: The process of baptizing a child at St. Mary Magdalene has changed and parents who have baptized a child here in recent years may notice that some requirements and procedures are now different. If you have any questions or concerns with these changes or would like to understand why these changes have occurred, please contact the parish office at your convenience.
How do I register at the parish?
In order to schedule a Baptism, your family needs to be registered in the parish for at least 3 months to become active members in our community. This is an important required step. In the meantime, after registering in the parish, parents may register for Baptism three months out and attend the parent preparation class the month before the scheduled Baptism.
Filling out a registration form with the parish is free and done in person at the parish office. The process only takes about 15 minutes.
Our Parish office hours are:
|Monday||8:45 am – Noon and 1:00 – 4:30 pm|
|Tuesday||8:45 am – Noon and 1:00 – 7:00 pm (when Religious Education is in session)|
|Wednesday||8:45 am – Noon and 1:00 – 7:00 pm (when Religious Education is in session)|
|Thursday||8:45 am – Noon and 1:00 – 4:30 pm|
|Friday||8:45 am – Noon|
|Sunday||The office is open after the morning Masses only.|
The office might be closed for holidays so please call or check the current bulletin for up-to-date information
How do I choose a date for Baptism?
Each month, Baptisms are offered on three dates. To select your date, please refer to the schedule below.
Once a month:
During the 11:30 AM Mass – limit of three (3) families
Twice a month:
At 6:00 PM – limit of six (6) families
At 1:00 PM – limit of six (6) families
All of the available dates and times are listed below.
Parents may select options through the online registration form based on the dates offered below and then enter their first and second preference into the comment section. Or, parents may also reply to the email that will be sent once the registration form has been received and processed.
What class do I need to take?
Both parents are required to attend a Parent Baptism Preparation class. The preparation class needs to be taken the month prior to the preferred Baptism date.
Each month, the preparation class is held on the 2nd Saturday
9:30 – 11:30 am
To minimize distraction for our teacher and other parents, we ask that parents come without their babies since it is a classroom environment
If both parents have attended a Baptism preparation course at any Catholic Church in the past (3) three years, you may be excused from taking a class for this Baptism if you can provide a letter stating the date that you completed the class from the parish where the class was taken. The letter may be scanned and emailed, faxed or dropped off at the parish office. We can make a copy for our records here and you may keep the original.
At St. Mary Magdalene, Godparents are not required to attend the preparation course. However, we do strongly encourage them to attend, as they play a significant role in the faith life of your child.
How do I choose Godparents (Sponsors)?
The role of Godparent is vitally important in the life of the newly baptized. It is a role that is very misunderstood in our society and it is not just an honorary title. The singular role of the Godparent is to be a support to the parents and serve as good examples of living the Catholic way of life.
Some examples of this support are:
- Aiding the parents in teaching the Catholic faith
- Celebrating important and sacred moments in the life of the child, such as the date of their Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation
- Providing an additional example of daily Catholic Christian living
It is essential, therefore, to take all of this into consideration when choosing a Godparent. To help you make this decision, here are a few requirements that all Godparents must meet, in accord with Canon 872-875 of the Code of Canon Law:
- A Godparent must be a fully initiated (meaning: has received all sacraments) Roman Catholic and actively participating in his/her faith and leading a life in harmony with Church teaching for the person’s state in life
- Only one Godparent is required but must be not less than sixteen (16) years of age
- They cannot be the parents of the child
- If two (2) Godparents are chosen, there must be one (1) male and one (1) female
- They cannot be bound by any canonical penalty. An example is that if they are married, they need to have been married in the Catholic Church or had a dispensation to get married outside the Catholic Church. If single, they also cannot be cohabitating.
Upon registration for Baptism, the parents will be emailed a Godparent Affidavit form (PDF) to distribute to their Godparents. If the Godparents are not active, registered parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene, the form needs to be filled out by their parish representative stating that they meet the above requirements and may serve as a Godparent. The form needs to be sealed with a parish seal and the original needs to be mailed or dropped off at the parish office. If the Godparents are registered at St. Mary Magdalene, they need to be actively participating in the parish through time, talent or treasure and be Catholics in good standing.
Along with one Catholic Godparent, parents may ask a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian to serve as a witness; this person will be listed on the parish records as a witness to the Baptism. A non-Catholic Christian witness is a person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community and has been baptized in the Trinitarian formula – In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. A non-Catholic Christian Witness form (PDF) will be emailed to the parents to be distributed to their witness. The form must be filled out by the Christian witness and returned to the parish office
What if I need a proxy?
In the event that a Godparent cannot be present for the Baptism, a person may stand in the place of the Godparent as a proxy. This situation needs to be brought to the attention of the Coordinator of Baptism Preparation upon registration or as soon as possible. Ideally, the Godparent should make the appointment of the proxy in writing so that there is certainty about who is the responsible person. The custom of leaving the appointment of the proxy to the parent of the infant or to the baptizing priest tends to make the sponsorship doubtful and is not ideal but each situation is unique and we do allow the parent to appoint a proxy, if necessary. The proxy needs to follow the same guidelines for a Godparent candidate and be able to provide a Godparent Affidavit form letter by the stated due date. In the Church record of Baptism, the names of both the Godparent and the proxy will be entered but the proxy will not be listed on the Baptism certificate.
What is required?
All documents need to be in the child’s file by the due date that will be stated in the email reply that is sent to the parents after the registration form is submitted online
- A copy of the child’s original birth certificate
- A completed Godparent Affidavit for each Godparent
- If needed, a completed non-Catholic Christian Witness statement
- If needed, a letter for the proxy stating that they are in good standing with the Church or a completed Godparent Affidavit PDF
If any of these documents are not in the child’s file by the due date stated in the reply email, we reserve the option to postpone the celebration of the sacrament until the file is complete.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
If we are not members of St. Mary Magdalene, can we have our child baptized in your parish?
It is customary for each parish to handle sacraments for their own parishioners. However, if there is a just reason for having your child baptized at St. Mary Magdalene, please contact the Coordinator of Baptism to discuss the circumstances. Additional documents may be required.
What do we need to do if we wish to have our child baptized in another parish?
If you require a letter of good standing in order to baptize in another parish, first contact the parish you wish to have your child baptized in to learn about their requirements. If you are an active and registered parishioner here at St. Mary Magdalene, a letter can be obtained from the parish on behalf of the pastor, giving you permission to have your child baptized in another Catholic Church. Please contact Carmen Antram (email@example.com) and allow five (5) business days to prepare the letter.
If we, as parents, do not meet all the requirements as expected of Godparents, can we still have our child baptized?
Yes, at your child’s Baptism you are stating publicly that you will raise your child in the Catholic faith. You may want to contact the parish to see what you need to do, as parents, to be in right relationship with the Catholic Church. This may be completing your sacraments, finding out about annulments, or taking care of any other issues. As your parish, we are here to help.
What if, later in our child’s life, the Godparents are no longer qualified as Godparents? Can we take them off the Baptismal certificate?
The certificate is a historical record of what took place so the information cannot be changed. You may wish to have some else support your child in their faith journey, but records do not change.
If you have any addition questions or concerns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. May God bless you and your family as you prepare for this beautiful Sacrament of Initiation!
Coordinator of Baptism Preparation
Quick Time Line Reference
- Register in the parish office
- Check Baptism date availability
- Submit online registration form (accounting for date of registration in the parish)
- Attend parent preparation class one month prior to the Baptism
- Submit all required documents by the due date stated in the email reply to registration
Dates and Times
2nd Saturday of each month 9:30-11:30 am
|Baptism Dates for 2014|
The preparation class needs to be taken the month prior to the preferred Baptism date.
|July 12 – FULL||August 10 at 11:30 am Mass – FULL
August 23 at 6:00 pm – FULL
August 24 at 1:00 pm – FULL
|August 9||September 14 at 11:30 am Mass
September 27 at 6:00 pm – FULL
September 28 at 1:00 pm
|September 13||October 12 at 11:30 am Mass
October 25 at 6:00 pm
October 26 at 1:00 pm
|October 11||November 9 at 11:30 am Mass
November 22 at 6:00 pm
November 23 at 1:00 pm
|November 8||December 14 at 11:30 am Mass
December 27 at 6:00 pm
December 28 at 1:00 pm
More information from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
252. What names are given to the first sacrament of initiation?
This sacrament is primarily called Baptism because of the central rite with which it is celebrated. To baptize means to "immerse" in water. The one who is baptized is immersed into the death of Christ and rises with him as a "new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17). This sacrament is also called the "bath of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5); and it is called "enlightenment" because the baptized becomes "a son of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
253. How is Baptism prefigured in the Old Covenant?
In the Old Covenant Baptism was pre-figured in various ways: water, seen as source of life and of death; in the Ark of Noah, which saved by means of water; in the passing through the Red Sea, which liberated Israel from Egyptian slavery; in the crossing of the Jordan River, that brought Israel into the promised land which is the image of eternal life.
254. Who brought to fulfillment those prefigurations?
All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. At the beginning of his public life Jesus had himself baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan. On the cross, blood and water, signs of Baptism and the Eucharist, flowed from his pierced side. After his Resurrection he gave to his apostles this mission: "Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
255. Starting when and to whom has the Church administered Baptism?
From the day of Pentecost, the Church has administered Baptism to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
256. In what does the essential rite of Baptism consist?
The essential rite of this sacrament consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water over his or her head while invoking the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
257. Who can receive Baptism?
Every person not yet baptized is able to receive Baptism.
258. Why does the Church baptize infants?
The Church baptizes infants because they are born with original sin. They need to be freed from the power of the Evil One and brought into that realm of freedom which belongs to the children of God.
259. What is required of one who is to be baptized?
Everyone who is to be baptized is required to make a profession of faith. This is done personally in the case of an adult or by the parents and by the Church in the case of infants. Also the godfather or the godmother and the whole ecclesial community share the responsibility for Baptismal preparation (catechumenate) as well as for the development and safeguarding of the faith and grace given at Baptism.
260. Who can baptize?
The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and the priest. In the Latin Church the deacon also can baptize. In case of necessity any person can baptize provided he has the intention of doing what the Church does. This is done by pouring water on the head of the candidate while saying the Trinitarian formula for Baptism: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".
261. Is Baptism necessary for salvation?
Baptism is necessary for salvation for all those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.
262. Is it possible to be saved without Baptism?
Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.
263. What are the effects of Baptism?
Baptism takes away original sin, all personal sins and all punishment due to sin. It makes the baptized person a participant in the divine life of the Trinity through sanctifying grace, the grace of justification which incorporates one into Christ and into his Church. It gives one a share in the priesthood of Christ and provides the basis for communion with all Christians. It bestows the theological virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A baptized person belongs forever to Christ. He is marked with the indelible seal of Christ (character).
264. What is the meaning of the Christian name received at Baptism?
The name is important because God knows each of us by name, that is, in our uniqueness as persons. In Baptism a Christian receives his or her own name in the Church. It should preferably be the name of a saint who might offer the baptized a model of sanctity and an assurance of his or her intercession before God.