As a parent, you have already made many decisions about how you wish to do your best for your child; Baptism is undoubtedly part of choosing the best for them. Since the earliest days of the Church, parents have wanted to share their faith with their children; indeed, we read in the Acts of the Apostles how whole households, including children, were baptised (Acts 16:15 and 16:33).
This page explains some things you and your family need to consider as you set out on the journey of exploration and preparation before the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism and give some practical advice to help you prepare for your child’s baptism.
Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation; Confirmation and Eucharist are the other two. We become full members of the Church by receiving all three of these Sacraments. Therefore, when you request to have your child baptised, you are expected and encouraged to bring your child up in the Catholic Faith. In fact, you make a promise to do so.
Weekly participation in the Sunday Mass in Church is the primary part of this upbringing. If you have been away from Sunday Mass, this is a wonderful time to return to church on a Sunday. Along with our weekly participation at Mass in church, we bring our children up in the faith through teaching them prayers, about the history of God’s love for us in the Bible and about Jesus Christ and his teachings which are kept faithfully in the Catholic Church.
At least one of the child’s parents must be a baptised Catholic. If one parent is not Catholic or of another faith, they may need your help understanding what you are doing in baptising your child. Share your faith with them and invite other family and friends to help you.
Use this time to think again about your faith, your relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. This is your opportunity to know, love and serve God better.
After careful consideration, if you would like to arrange for your child to be baptised, you should, in the first instance, speak to Fr Shaun after Mass. Fr Shaun will then ask you to email him at to arrange a meeting to discuss your child’s baptism.
If you are new to the parish or have not been regularly attending Sunday Mass, you will be asked to attend Mass in the parish for three months before arrangements for the baptism can be made, or else provide a letter from your previous parish priest stating that you are known to him and that you are currently a practising Catholic.
Who can be godparents?
You will need to choose godparents for your child. At least one is necessary, but more are possible. Ordinarily, parents choose one godmother and one godfather. Godparents are asked to ‘help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents.” It follows that they have to be practising, church-going Catholics who will be able to support your child and you in faith.
The Law of the Church (Canon Law) requires that a godparent be:
- Over the age of 16
- Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on
- Not the father or mother of the one to be baptised.
If you wish to have an additional witness who is not a Catholic, then the witness can take some part in the ceremony.
There is no set fee to be paid to have your child baptised. However, giving a discretionary offering to the priest who performs the ceremonies is customary.