CAN = Canon Law
CCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church
What is Baptism?
CCC 1213 – Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 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 and in the word.”
Who can be baptized?
CAN 864 – Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is capable of being baptized.
What are the requirements for a child to be baptized?
CAN 868 §1 – For an infant to be baptized lawfully it is required:
- that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;
- that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.
I am Catholic, but my spouse is not. May our child be baptized in the Catholic Church?
If one of the parents is a practicing Catholic, as long as the other parent is in agreement, the child can be baptized. There must also be a well-founded expectation that the child will be brought up in the Catholic tradition.
What about single parents or parents who weren’t married in the church?
We welcome all parents who are seeking baptism for their children. If you have concerns about your marital status or having your child baptized, we will be happy to have you speak with one of our priests or deacons to clarify any questions you may have.
What about baptizing a child who is adopted?
Baptismal certificates issued by the parish for adopted children will be no different from other baptismal certificates. No mention of the fact of adoption shall be made on the baptismal certificate. There are some additional explanations which can be found at CAN 877, §3 – Recording the Baptism of Adopted Children
At what age are children usually baptized?
CAN 867 §1 – Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.
Parents should feel free to ask questions of the parish priest or office.
Are there any exceptions?
CAN 867 §2 – If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.
Does Baptism need to take place in the church?
CAN 857 §1 – Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a church or an oratory.
CAN 857 §2 – As a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptized in his or her proper parish church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the parents.
The proper place for the Sacrament of Baptism to take place is in the parish Church building among the local group of believers (spiritual family) who welcome the newly baptized in the parish life.
Who performs the Baptism?
CAN 861 §1 – The ordinary minister of baptism is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon,
How does baptism take place?
We will go over all the steps of the reception of the Sacrament. However, it is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring. CAN 854
What is the Baptism Candle and what does it signify?
CCC 1243 – The candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the new believer. In Christ, the baptized are “the light of the world”.
Do we need to supply a Baptism Candle?
No. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will provide it. However, if you or the godparents wish to do so, that is also acceptable.
Is a special garment for the baby required? Why does the baby wear white at Baptism?
CCC #1243 – The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has ‘put on Christ’, has risen with Christ.
Are there any considerations I should have in mind when choosing a name for my child?
CAN 855 – Parents, sponsors and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.
Is there a fee?
There are no required fees association with the baptism. However, should you wish to give a donation to the deacon, you are welcome to do that.
When will I receive the baptism certificate?
Approximately two week a week after the baptism we will send you one certificate with your child’s name and parents names as recorded on the child’s birth certificate.
Why is my maiden name listed on my child’s Baptism certificate if I am married?
As this is a legal document, we are required to include the mother’s maiden name as recorded on the birth certificate.
Who is the keeper of the original certificate or the sacraments?
The parish of baptism is considered to be the Church of Record Keeping; therefore, notification of the sacraments of first communion, confirmation, marriage and holy orders, celebrated at other parishes, should be sent to the Church of Record by the church performing the sacraments.
The church of record can issue Baptism Certificates, therefore, at any time. Parishes may have their own processes – such as fees and timeliness for these to be obtained.
Do I need to be a registered member of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Church in order to have my child baptized here?
Yes, you must be a member of the parish. Baptisms are celebrations of the Catholic community where you worship – and so you should celebrate with your home parish. There are certain cases where exceptions may be approved.
What are the baptism preparation classes about and who has to take them?
Baptism preparation classes are for the parents and godparents of the child. The classes are mandatory. One may take these classes at another parish if s/he is out of state. Classes at Our Lady of Guadalupe are valid for three years. A copy of your certificate of completion is required as part of the Baptism application packet.
I have already taken a baptism preparation class, do I need to attend one again?
If you have not taken a class in the last three years from the date of the new baptism, you will need to take a class again. If the class was taken at Our Lady of Guadalupe church, please submit a copy of your certificate. If it was taken at another parish we will need the certificate from that parish.
Do we have to complete the baptismal preparation class before we can set the date for the celebration of baptism?
Yes, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, all requirements must have been met and required copies of all certificates submitted before you can be placed on the schedule.
Whom should I choose as godparents for my child’s baptism?
Whether you select very close friends or family members as godparents for your child, it is a very personal decision. However, the Church does ask that certain requirements be met.
- Be a practicing registered Catholic who is at least 18 (as per the Archbishop of our Diocese) years of age, has received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, First Eucharist, and Confirmation), and receives the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation regularly.
- They are leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role they are about to assume.
- If married, be validly married in the Catholic Faith and not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared; Catholics publicly living in an invalid marriage (not according to the Church regulations) and those who are cohabitating (living together without marriage) are ineligible.
- The mother or the father of a child is not permitted to serve as a Godparent. .
The pastor of the designated godparent is normally responsible for determining that the designee understands the sponsor’s role and is qualified to assume it, providing a letter of eligibility when the baptism is to be celebrated in another parish.
Through pastoral dialogue and catechetical helps, the godparents are to be prepared for their role both as faith-companion for the one to be baptized and as a support for the parents in their Christian responsibilities. They should be invited to participate in the formation opportunities (both spiritual and catechetical) offered to parents of the child to be baptized. (CJC 851.2; CIGI 8 and 13; Cf. RBC 40 See Nos. 51-53, below.)
How many godparents can (must) I have?
It is only required that there be one godparent, But, 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.
Do both godparents have to be Catholics?
Yes, a godparent, by definition of their role to represent the Catholic community and helping to pass on their Catholic Faith, must be a fully initiated Catholic. They must both be confirmed in the Catholic faith. If they are married, the must be married in the Catholic Church. But remember that only one godparent is required.
Where can I obtain a certificate of baptism?
Certificates of Baptism can be obtained from the church of Record Keeping – the church where one was baptized. Certificates are issued only to the person who was baptized or their parent or guardian. The person requesting a certificate must positively identify him or herself to the pastor or parish staff member issuing the certificate.
If the parish church has been closed, you may contact the Diocese where the church was located. The office of the Chancellor, the Vicar General, or the Canon Law department normally will be able to tell you where the baptismal registers can be located.
If you were baptized in a hospital or similar institution, the baptismal record is maintained in the parish church in which the institution is located.
What about Baptism for Children ages 7 – 17?
Children and youth over the age of 7 who have had little religious education are required to participate in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) as adapted for children and youth. Through this process they are introduced to the teachings of the Catholic Faith, basic Catholic prayers, and the sacramental life of the Church. At the end of the process, they are baptized, confirmed and receive their first holy communion. Please contact the director of Religious Education for more information as these classes are offered only once a year.
Are Baptisms offered in Spanish?
Yes, they are. Please contact our Spanish Baptismal Coordinator for more information: Adela Vigueras (210) 760-2558.