To have a child baptized at St Anne’s Church, at least one parent must be a registered and active parishioner of our parish. Parish registration may be done online through the online giving icon. Parents and sponsors (“godparents”) have the serious obligation of raising the child in the practice of the Catholic religion (see below for sponsor requirements). Baptisms ordinarily take place immediately after the second Sunday morning Mass. To arrange for a baptism, please attend baptismal class on first Saturday of the month held at the Shrine. You need to call the office to let us know if you plan to attend first Saturday class at 10 AM. Instruction is required only if this is the first time you are having a child baptized.
What parents should know
Baptism is the most important of the Church’s seven Sacraments, in the sense that it must be received before one is able to receive any of the others. By it: (1) we are freed from the “original sin” inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve; (2) we become Christians, participants in all the great things Jesus Christ has communicated to mankind; (3) we become adopted children of God, very dear to Him, in a special way; (4) we become co-heirs with Christ to the kingdom of heaven—eternal happiness in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is a spectacular achievement that parents can cooperate with God in giving life and all its wondrous possibilities to their children, and through Baptism, open the gates of heaven and a life of spiritual beauty and richness to them.
- Parents are obliged to see to it that infants are baptized within the first weeks after birth; as soon as possible after birth or even before it parents are to request the sacrament for their child and to be properly prepared for it. If the child cannot be brought to the church with safety, the priest should be summoned for baptism in the home. An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without any delay.
- One sponsor is required. Two are permitted, and this is customary. The two may not be of the same sex, and there are never more than two sponsors.
- If a sponsor who has agreed to act in this capacity cannot be present for the baptism, a proxy may act in his or her place.
- In preparing a child for baptism, the clothing about the neck should be loose, or easily loosened, to facilitate the anointing with one of the holy oils.
What a godparent should know
“Godparent” and “sponsor” have the same meaning. By assuming this role, a sponsor agrees to take a lasting interest in the life and spiritual welfare of the child. If the parents neglect, or are unable to provide for the Catholic education of the child, the sponsor must do so, as far as possible.
Requirements for godparents
As specified in the Code of Canon Law (1983), can. 874
The role of a sponsor is to help the baptized to lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism, and to fulfill faithfully the obligations connected with it. To be admitted to the role of a sponsor, a person must:
- be designated by the child’s parents, or by guardians, or in their absence by the minister of Baptism;
- have completed 16 years of age, unless for a just cause it seems to the pastor that an exception can be made;
- be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received first Holy Communion and leads a life in harmony with the Faith and the role to be undertaken (thus, for example, anyone living with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or in a marriage not recognized by the Church, is not eligible to be a sponsor);
- not be bound by any canonical penalty;
- not be the father or the mother of the one to be baptized.
If the intended sponsor is not a member of St Anne’s Parish, he or she must obtain a “sponsor certificate” from his or her own parish priest, indicating that he or she is qualified to act as a sponsor. The baptism will not be scheduled until all necessary sponsor certificates have been received.