The Sacrament of Baptism
Origin and Foundation
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. Jesus did not need to be baptized, because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin and begin to live a new life with God. In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ's call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.usccb.org).
The Sacrament of Baptism
Process and Policies for St. Jude the Apostle Parish
All essential schedules and documents can be found by clicking on the link found at the end of this document.
The following St. Jude Parish baptism policies are based on the Pagella and Policies of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. ©2009.
1. Scheduling a Baptism:
a. Initial Contact- To schedule a baptism, please contact Patience Appleton in the Parish Office. She serves as coordinator of all baptism registration and documentation. Please email her at email@example.com
b. Person(s) Making Contact- The only persons who can schedule a baptism are the parents of the child or other legal adult guardian. Requests from any other person, such as grandparents, prospective godparents, and so on will not be accepted. (See Baptism Registration Form, at the end of this document.)
c. Sponsors (Godparents)- Apart from an emergency situation, each child must have at least 1 sponsor (godparent) who meets the sponsor qualifications. It is permissible, and in most cases customary, to have 2 godparents. Please note that to stand as a godparent, that person/those persons must meet the sponsor qualifications. If 2 sponsors are desirable, they cannot be of the same gender. (Please see SEC. 3 for Godparent Qualifications.)
d. Christian Witness- in certain situations, parents may desire to ask a non-Catholic baptized person to stand as a witness of faith for their child. The description of this is contained in SECTION 3.C.
e. A Minimum of 1 Qualified Catholic Must Be a Godparent- if a Christian Witness is desirable, then parents must also select 1 practicing Catholic as a godparent.
2. Required Waiting Period:
a. A baptism cannot be scheduled sooner than 3 weeks from the day that the initial request is made. This is to ensure that all of the necessary qualifications for parents and sponsors (godparents) have been met and the necessary documents completed and submitted to the Parish Office.
b. In order for a baptism to be scheduled, parents and sponsors (godparents) must meet the necessary qualifications. These qualifications are listed below in the “Qualifications and Expectations” section.
3. Qualifications and Expectations (Parents and Godparents):
a.1- At least 1 of the parents must be a baptized, practicing Catholic.
a.2- Must be registered in a Catholic church parish.
a.3- If married, ideally, the parents should be in a union of sacramental marriage (“in the church”). If this is not the case, and if it is not possible for the couple to celebrate their marriage as a sacrament (formally known as a “convalidation,” and commonly referred to as “blessing one’s marriage”), before the baptism of their child, then the couple should indicate some desire to do so as soon as possible.
a.4- Ideally, parents should be practicing their faith by regular worship.
a.5- Parents who have never attended a baptism seminar must do so.
b. SPONSORS (GODPARENTS):
b.1- Must be chosen by the parents or who-ever takes their place.
b.2- Must have completed his or her sixteenth year.
b.3- Must be a practicing Catholic who has been confirmed and admitted to the Eucharist.
b.4- Must not be under any canonical penalty.
b.5- Must not be the father or the mother of the child/candidate.
b.6- Must be registered in a Catholic church parish.
b.7- If married, the godparent(s) must be in a union of sacramental marriage (“in the church”). If this is not the case, and if it is not possible for the couple to celebrate their marriage as a sacrament (formally known as a “convalidation,” and commonly referred to as “blessing one’s marriage”), before the baptism of their godchild, then the couple should indicate some desire to do so as soon as possible. If they are from a parish other than the parish where the baptism is to take place, they must present a letter from their pastor stating their intention to do so.
b.8- Must complete and submit a Sponsor Registration and Verification Form and submit it to the Parish Office no later than 3 weeks prior to the scheduled date of the baptism. (See Sponsor Registration and Verification Form at the end of this document.)
b.9- Godparents who have never attended a baptism seminar must do so.
c. A CHRISTIAN WITNESS:
c.1- Sometimes a Catholic parent may wish to ask a non-Catholic baptized adult to stand as a witness of faith for their child. This role is known in the Catholic Church as a Christian Witness.
c.2- A Christian Witness must be at least 16 years of age.
c.3- A Christian Witness must be baptized in a Christian faith.
c.4- A Christian Witness CANNOT BE Catholic.
c.5- A Christian Witness who has never attended a baptism seminar must do so.
c.6- See Christian Witness Form, at the end of this document.
d. BAPTISM IN A CHURCH PARISH OTHER THAN ONE’S OWN- Parents of St. Jude Parish who desire to celebrate their child’s baptism in a church parish other than St. Jude must request a letter of permission from the pastor of St. Jude in order to do so. This letter can be obtained by contacting the Parish Office.
e. THE CELEBRANT OF BAPTISM- The celebrant of baptism in St. Jude Parish is either the resident pastor or one of the resident deacons. If parents desire to invite a guest priest or deacon to celebrate the baptism, there are 2 letters of permission that must be obtained no later than 3 weeks prior to the scheduled date of baptism. (See para. F and G, below.)
f. PRIESTS OR DEACONS FROM ANOTHER PARISH WITHIN THE DIOCESE OF BATON ROUGE MUST:
a. Request a Letter of permission from the pastor of St. Jude Parish.
g. PRIESTS OR DEACONS FROM OUTSIDE THE DIOCESE OF BATON ROUGE MUST:
a. Request a Letter of Suitability for Ministry from the Chancery Office of their particular diocese.
b. The Letter of Suitability is an absolute requirement for an outside priest or deacon to participate in any sacrament or ministry in a diocese other than his own. It often takes some time to request and receive such a letter. Therefore, families making this request must ensure that this process begins well in advance of the scheduled baptism.
h. A NON-CATHOLIC MINISTER may not participate as a minister in the sacrament.
i. PARENTS FROM ANOTHER PARISH who wish to have their child baptized here at St. Jude because they have some connection to the community are certainly invited to do so. Please note this when you call to schedule the baptism.
j. THE CHILD’S ATTIRE FOR BAPTISM: please have your child dressed in their baptism attire prior to arrival at church.
k. BAPTISM DOCUMENTATION CHECK-LIST:
k.1- Baptism Registration Form
k.2- A copy of the child’s birth certificate
k.3- If the adult(s) are legal guardians other than their parents, proof of guardianship must be provided.
k.4- Sponsor Verification Form (for godparents).
k.5- Christian Witness Form (for a Christian Witness, if applicable).
k.6- Verification of attendance of baptism seminar.
ESSENTIAL SCHEDULES AND FORMS:
- Baptism Registration Form
- Baptism and Seminar Schedule
- Sponsor Registration (and Verification) Form
- Christian Witness Form