Baptism is the beginning of an individual’s initiation into the community of the Church. In presenting a child for Baptism, a member of the community expresses the desire for that child to be formed and supported in the parish in which they already enjoy and practice their own faith.
The following norms for parents and godparents are based on the Code of Canon Law (Church Law) approved by Pope John Paul II in 1983, canon 864-874
- Parents must be registered parishioners.
- Parents must be attending Mass weekly as a sign of their own faith to demonstrate that there is assurance that this child will be educated and raised as an active Catholic.
If they are new to the parish, testimony from the priest in the parish they came from must be obtained.
If they are new to the church, they must be registered and attending Mass for six months minimum before Baptism will be considered.
- A godparent must be Catholic, at least 16 years of age, confirmed and living a life consistent with the doctrines and moral teachings of the Church.
- One of the two may be non-Catholic but must be a practicing Christian in his or her own denomination. This person will be able to serve, not as ‘godparent’ but as ‘Christian witness’.
- Parents are to fill out paperwork and set an appointment with the priest to review the papers and make a decision regarding the Baptism. No child will be ‘refused’ but a ‘deferred date’ of six months may need to be made in order to assist parents to come to terms with their own faith commitment.
- A booklet will be given to the family for instruction about the symbols and rituals of the sacrament itself.
- A date will be set for the convenience of the family. Usually, each family has an individual baptism ceremony after one of the weekend Masses. The family is asked to attend that Mass, during which the child is introduced to the community publicly so that prayers may be offered for the child.