The Sacrament of Baptism opens the door to a new life in Jesus Christ... a life that goes beyond our death and into the life of heaven after our death.
Baptism is the sacrament of salvation: an encounter with God that cleanses us from sin and makes us true children of God, sharing in his very own divine life.
This great gift is offered to all who believe and to the children of families of faith. Since her earliest days, the Church has baptized adults and children because it is the only ordinary way God has revealed that we may receive the grace of salvation through this sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as St. Paul teaches in Romans chapter 6:
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:3, 8, 11)
Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation. The other two are Confirmation and Holy Communion (Eucharist). Children typically receive the other Sacraments of Initiation after reaching age 7 and before age 16.
Baptism of Infants and Children (under age 7)
It is an ancient custom and also a requirement of Church law that each new Christian have at least one sponsor, traditionally called a godparent, who “together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations” of this new life. (Code of Canon Law, 872)
Church law and our diocese provide guidelines for the qualifications to serve as a godparent. The reason for these requirements is to ensure that the new Christian will have the support they need from their sponsor who will promise to pray for them and help them as they prepare for other sacraments and seek to live out their baptism throughout their lifetime.
Baptism of Adults (and children age 7 and up)
Following the spread of Christianity in the first few generations after the resurrection of Jesus, the Catholic Church developed a process to prepare adults for entry into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion (Eucharist). Today, the Church calls this process the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA. Through this process, those who express interest in becoming Catholic are welcomed into a special community within the parish to learn about the teachings of Jesus and his Church, to have their questions answered, learn about the new life in Christ offered by baptism, and prepare for the reception of the Sacraments.
Please contact us to get started! Nothing more than an interest in learning more about Catholicism is needed to begin. There is no pressure, only welcome and support as you freely journey towards union with Christ and his Church.
Children who have reached age 7 and have not yet been baptized are considered “adults” with consideration for the reception of sacraments. This is because - at age 7 - they are able to take personal responsibility for their sins and are able to make a profession of faith on their own. A special preparation process is provided for them. Parents, please contact us so that we can help you get started. It is never too late to baptize your children.
Baptism at St. John the Baptist
1st Grade and younger:
- Parents and Godparents attend a Saturday class from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. held on the third Saturday of each month. No pre-registration is required. Arrangements for baptism are made through the Parish Office (985-2065) after attending the class.
2nd Grade - High School:
- Parents, with children who are ages 7 - 16, bring their children forward for full membership in the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This process is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adult (RCIA) As Adapted For Children / Teens. Students ages 17 & 18 will join the RCIA process with the adult community.
- This is a two-year commitment. During the second year, the children journey toward the Easter vigil and the joy of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a time to share stories, questions, prayer, catechesis, etc. In the RCIA for children/teens, a parent is considered the appropriate sponsor for their child. This requires a family catechesis in which a parent attends the weekly classes with their child or teen.
- The Children’s Initiation process parallels the adult process of RCIA.
- The catechetical sessions of the adult and youth are separate, with the division due to time considerations and maturity of content. Yet, the adults and youth participate together in the liturgical rites and all come forward together to accept their God and membership in the Roman Catholic Church.
Requirements to be a Godparent or Sponsor for Confirmation:
- There should be a godparent for the person to be baptized as far as this is possible. In adult baptism, the godparent assists in Christian initiation. In infant baptism, the godparent, with the parents, presents the child for baptism and helps the baptized to lead the Christian life in harmony with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent to it (can. 872). There may be one godfather, one godmother, or one of each (can. 873).
- If there are two godparents, one must be male and the other female. A single godparent may be of either sex. It may happen that parents want two person of the same sex to be godparents and they have good reasons for this. A possible solution to such a case is to register one as the official godparent, while the other would assume only the cultural and familial customs connected with the role.
- Qualifications of godparents - The qualifications of godparents at baptism given here also apply to the godparent (sponsor) for confirmation: The godparents are to be chosen by the adult who is to be baptized or, at infant baptism, by the parents or the person who takes their place. When this is not possible, the pastor or other minister should choose the godparent or godparents.
- The godparents must have the qualifications for and intention of carrying out this duty.
- The godparents’ duty is not only to be present for the celebration of the sacrament, but it is a lifelong responsibility to help the baptized lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism, and to fulfill faithfully the obligations connected with it (can. 872).
- They are to be a least sixteen years of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age or unless, in an exceptional case, it seem to the pastor or minister that there is just cause to admit a younger person.
- They must be Catholics who are already confirmed and have received the holy Eucharist.
- They should be leading a life of faith in harmony with the duty they are undertaking.
- They may not be under a lawfully imposed or declared canonical penalty.
- They may not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized (cc. 874 , 1, 893).
- If married, they must be married in the church or have the proper ecclesiastical dispensation (cc. 874 1, 894).
- We do not recommend 2 non-Catholic witnesses.
- A baptized Catholic cannot be considered a Christian witness if he or she is not confirmed.
More information about the Children/Youth and Adult Faith Formation at St. John the Baptist:
- Children and Youth Faith Formation
- Adult Faith Formation