What are my duties?
Baptism is not simply a "naming ceremony" or even just a blessing for a new baby. It is the beginning of the Christian life and the gateway to eternal life. Because of this, the sacrament of Baptism is taken very seriously in the Church.
The ceremony of Baptism assumes a well-founded hope that you will bring your child up in the practice of the faith. This means
· you teach your child to pray
· you teach your child to lead a good Christian life
· you & your child come to Mass regularly on Sundays
· you teach your child the Catholic faith
How do I arrange a Baptism?
One or both parents should come to see the parish priest, after any Weekday Mass or after Mass on Saturday or Sunday. You do not need to telephone or make an appointment.
How soon should I have my child baptised?
Children should be baptized as soon as possible after birth. You are even welcome to come and arrange a date for the Baptism before the child is born. (The priest will then also be able to give the blessing for an expectant mother and pray for the safe delivery of the child.)
I am not married. Can my child be baptised?
Yes. A child may be baptised so long as there is a well-founded hope that they will be brought up in the practice of the Catholic faith. If you have any questions about marriage in the Catholic Church, please ask the priest because there are often misunderstandings in this area.
I do not live in the parish. Can I have my child baptised at St Clement’s?
Yes, if you regularly come to Mass here. If you are not coming to Mass, you need to decide which will be the Church you are going to start attending. It will usually be more appropriate (and more convenient) for you to start going to Mass at your local parish and to arrange the Baptism there.
I would like my child Baptised in another Parish?
You will still need to approach the Parish Priest so that he can send a written confirmation to the other parish that you are known to him and have attended Preparation evenings in our Parish.
How many Godparents should we have?
The Church's Canon Law states that there should be one or two Godparents. If there are two, they should preferably be a Godfather and a Godmother. At least one Godparent must be a Confirmed Catholic over 16 years of age who takes their faith seriously by regularly going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion.
What about non-Catholics?
If you are finding it difficult to find Catholic Godparents, then along side a Catholic Confirmed Godparent, a non-Catholic who is a baptised Christian, in good standing with his or her own faith community, may act as a Christian witness, similar to a Godparent. During the ceremony they together with the parents profess the Church’s faith in which the child is to be baptised. He or she will be asked to renew the vows of their own baptism saying “I do” to three questions about turning from sin and then three questions about faith in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They also have to attest that they are ready to help you as parents in your role as Christian parents and be prepared to support the godchild in a spiritual role for the rest of the godchild’s life.
Neither I nor my spouse is Catholic. Can our child(ren) be baptised Catholics?
Only if one of the parents decides to become a Catholic themselves. This is a process which involves prayer, instruction and sharing in the life of the Catholic community over several months at least.) The most appropriate conclusion to this process is for the family to be baptised together. Please ask the priest for further details.
In the Catholic Church in England, there is no fee for the Baptism. If you can afford to do so, you should make an offering. You can give this in an envelope to the priest or deacon at the time of the Baptism. If you cannot afford anything, it does not matter and nobody will be offended.
I had a child baptised but I never got a Baptism certificate. How can I get one?
Every parish keeps a Baptism register in its permanent archive. A certificate can always be provided for you by the parish where your child was Baptised.