The Sacrament of Baptism

Celebrating New Life

Baptism is the gate to the other sacraments. It ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. Baptism has six primary effects. In addition to the removal of guilt for both Original Sin and personal sin, Baptism also removes the remission of all punishment that we owe because of sin, both temporal (in this world and in Purgatory) and eternal (the punishment that we would suffer in hell). Baptism also provides an infusion of grace in the form of sanctifying grace (the life of God within us) and provides the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the three theological virtues. Additionally, Baptism allows us to become a part of the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ on earth and enables participation in the sacraments, the priesthood of all believers, and the growth in grace. Baptism seals the Christian with an indelible spiritual mark (the "character of Baptism") which sin cannot erase. The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms from other Christian denominations that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic Church.

The Symbols of Baptism

The symbols employed in the Baptismal rite - water, anointing with oil, the white garment and the Paschal candle - speak to us deeply of our Christian calling and commitment. Water, necessary for life and growth and a memorial to Jesus' own Baptism; the anointing, indicating that someone is special as well as a sign of strengthening; the white garment is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and His glorious resurrection and represents our being clothed in Christ; and the candle lit from the Easter candle, pointing to the light of faith in Christ's promise of new life which is passed on to the newly baptized. These are symbols which come from our human experience and enhance the Baptismal celebration. But most especially, they are signs which work together in celebration and point beyond our mere human action.

Baptisms at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick

Since the earliest of times Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit. For children and infants age six and under, or in unique cases, baptisms at the Cathedral take place after parents have attended a Baptism preparation class.  Children age seven and above need to prepare for full initiation into the church at the Easter Vigil and need to take part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children. Families of these children will be asked to participate in a program of preparation.

At the Cathedral of Saint Patrick, baptisms are celebrated on the first, second and fourth Sunday of the month following the 12:30 p.m. Mass. Parents must attend a baptismal class prior to the baptism if they have not attended a baptism preparation class at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick within the past three years. Baptismal classes are held the third Sunday of the month at approximately 10:00 am in the Family Life Center Library. Class registration is not required. Parents must also complete a baptism registration form and submit all the necessary paperwork along with the required Godparent certificate of eligibility at least a month prior to the scheduled baptism. It is customary to provide a momentary gift for the clergy member (priest or deacon) who performs the baptism. The donation can be given directly to the clergy member. The gift amount is up to the discretion of the family.


Baptism FAQ

When are baptisms celebrated?

Baptisms for infants are offered on the first, second and fourth Sunday of the month at 1:30 pm.

How do you schedule a baptism?

After attending the Cathedral's Baptismal Preparation Class and/or completing the Baptismal registration form, parents may contact the parish office to schedule a baptism.

Do parents have to take a baptism preparation class?

Parents must attend the Cathedral's baptism preparation class prior to a baptism if they have not attended the Cathedral's baptism preparation class within the past three years. Baptismal classes are held the third Sunday of the month at 10:00 am in the Family Life Center Library. Registration is not required and the class is free.

What if we already attended the preparation class with another child?

If you have attended the class in the last 3 years, there is no need to attend again. You simply need to complete the baptism registration form and contact the parish office to schedule your baptism.

What paperwork is needed for a baptism?

Parents must submit a baptismal registration form and provide the required Godparent certificate of eligibility at least one month prior to the scheduled baptism. See "Baptism Registration Form" above.

What are the requirements for Godparents?

The Church’s teaching is that one Catholic Godparent, who is at least 16 years of age, a fully initiated Catholic, and is in good standing with the Catholic Church, is sufficient. There may be an additional Christian witness if that person isn’t the same gender as the Catholic Godparent and is a baptized person who belongs to a Christian denomination. See "Godparent Requirements" above for more information.

Do the Godparents have to attend the baptism preparation class?

Godparents aren't required to attend our baptismal preparation class but they are welcomed.

I've been asked to be a Godparent and need to attend a class

We welcome non-parishioners and Godparents to attend our monthly baptism preparation class. Following the class, we will mail you a certificate of completion. The Cathedral's baptismal preparation class is held the third Sunday of the month at 10:00 am in the Family Life Center Library. Registration is not required.

Can you be re-baptized?

Baptism is a once-for-all sacrament that washes away original sin, gives sanctifying grace, and imparts a supernatural character upon the soul that makes a person a Christian. Even if you have not lived a Christian life until recently, if you were validly baptized then you are a Christian. Your status as a Christian doesn't depend upon how well you have lived. The proper sacrament to wash away personal sins you have committed since your baptism is confession.

Can my child be baptized if I'm not Catholic?

This would need to be discussed with a priest prior to scheduling the baptism. A parents consent and the presence of a founded hope that the child will be raised Catholic are what is necessary for the baptism to take place. To establish that there is a founded hope of the child's being raised Catholic, the priest you talk to will question and advise you.

Why should we pick a Saint's name for our child's baptism?

In the creed we say at Mass, we say we believe in the Communion of Saints. This means we are spiritually united with those who have died and are now in heaven. They can act as intercessors – they have the ability to assist us and pray for us. By choosing a saint's name, you acknowledge this fact and ask a particular saint to assist you in bringing up the child. The saint becomes the child's patron, and a role model for the child.


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