The Sacrament of Baptism forgives sin and includes the child as a member of the Body of Christ in the Church. Faith is a necessary condition of baptism and if the child is not old enough to accept this promise of faith, the parents and godparents stand in for the child. It is the parents’ responsibility to raise the child in the faith until he or she is able to personally accept it. It is very similar to raising a child to eat well, be moral, safe, and educated. None of these things happen overnight. In the same way, receiving baptism without any obligation to live out the faith is a grave disservice to the child as well as the parents who are promising something that they do not intend to carry out.
We at Shepherd of the Valley want parents and godparents to understand and accept their critical roles for their sakes and the sake of the child. Therefore, our baptismal requirements reflect this. We would be more than happy to explain this philosophy of baptism in greater detail if you have any questions. Please read over the baptismal policy below and be familiar with your rights and responsibilities. Also, please understand that they are intended to be a minimal indication of the commitment needed by the parents and godparents. Baptism of a child is an awesome responsibility and blessing and it is our prayer that it will not only be accepted, but embraced as a means to bring about blessing in the lives of the child, parents, and godparents.
Baptism Preparation Process
For Baptism of infants and children under the age of seven years old:
Parents and Godparents present the children for baptism.
1.Parents and godparents have the right and obligation to be instructed in their responsibilities as well as prepared for the celebration of Baptism.
2.The ordinary place for baptism is in the parish church of the parents.
3.At least one parent or legal guardian must request that the child be baptized.
4.There must be a grounded hope that the child baptized will be raised in the Catholic faith.
5.In order to assure the parents have been participating in the life of the parish they will be asked to document their participation in at least 8 Masses prior to requesting a date for baptism. These forms will be provided at the front office, at their baptism class, or online below.
6.At least one Godparent must be a baptized Catholic in good standing with at least 16 years of age, who has received Baptism and Confirmation and regularly attends Mass. Godparents from the parish should take the baptismal preparation class – if possible with the parents of the child to be baptized.Godparents from outside the parish are asked to provide a letter stating that they have completed the requirements in their own parish and are in good standing (the sacrament of matrimony is expected if they are a couple.)
7.Sponsors will also need to show proof of a Baptismal preparation class.
Preparation of Parents and Godparents
1.Parents and Godparents attend two 1 ½ hour preparation classes before their child is baptized.The purpose of the sessions is to:
·Welcome families to their faith community
·Educate parents and godparents about the history, meaning and symbolism of the Sacrament of baptism in the Catholic Church
·Acquaint the parents and godparents with the rituals of the ceremony
·Encourage parents and godparents to be actively involved in their faith community
·Involve parents and godparents in a reflection on the presence of God in their lives
·Educate godparents and parents in their responsibilities as role models to the child
·Educate godparents on how they represent the parish.
2.Baptism Preparation sessions are normally held in the Parish Hall.For English speaking sessions, parents call parish office at 664-1050 to schedule a session.
3.Parents and godparents may attend the Baptismal preparation sessions at another Catholic church, however a letter of attendance is needed before a baptism date is scheduled.
The Sacrament of Baptism
1.Baptisms are typically held the last Saturday of each month in the church with Lent and major feasts being the exception.Before planning a baptismal date, however, the mass, date, and time need to be confirmed.
2.Exceptions to the typical dates are for exceptional circumstances with approval by the Pastor.
3.Families are encouraged to have family and friends celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with their child.All should be present at least 20 minutes before mass to ensure seating and receive last minute instructions.
1.The front office or the catechist (teacher) will provide you with the necessary forms. Please make sure they are filled out and returned to the parish office no later than one week prior to the Baptism date.
2.At the completion of your class you will receive a certificate of completion with a parish seal on it.This must be presented to Felix Garcia for Hispanic baptisms or the office manager for English baptisms, along with any other required forms.
3.Contact Fr. Mike for English Baptisms or Felix Garcia for Hispanic Baptisms and confirm the date and time for baptism.
4.Godparents will need a letter stating that they are practicing Catholics in good standing.
Printable form to be used after attending Mass:
Mass Commentary Form