We are delighted that you wish to have your child baptized at Holy Family Catholic Church. Baptism is one of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Baptism holds a special place in the Church because it is the “door” to all other sacraments.
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. . . . Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin – Original and actual – and begin to live a new life with God. [For more on Baptism, go to http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/baptism/index.cfm]
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ’s call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love.
This information for is for families who seek baptism for their child who is under the age of seven. If your child is 7 years old or older, the child will journey to baptism through the catechumenate Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Contact the PREP office for more information at 407-876-6331.
What are the steps to have my child baptized at Holy Family Catholic Church?
1. Registration in the Parish
Holy Family Catholic Church requires that the family be registered in the parish. The parish is the context in which the child will grow in faith with the members of the Body of Christ. Since the child is baptized based on the faith of the parents, the parish requires a three-month waiting period for newly registered members to ensure that the family is active in the faith.
2. Parish Meeting/Consultation
If you are already a registered member of Holy Family Catholic Church, please make an appointment to meet with Sr. Linda Gaupin, CDP, Parish Ministry Coordinator at 407-876-2211 Ext. 209. This meeting consists of a faith inventory and a review of all the requirements/paperwork needed for baptism.
3. Baptism Preparation Class
Parents are required to participate in a baptism preparation class. Registration for the class takes place at your appointment with Sr. Linda. If you have attended a baptism preparation class within the past two years, you need not take a class again.
Baptism preparation classes are scheduled once a month at Holy Family Catholic Church. You may also participate in a baptism preparation class at another parish. You may not take an on-line class.
4. Schedule for Baptism
Baptisms are scheduled once a month at Holy Family Catholic Church except during the seasons of Advent and Lent. The yearly schedule is given at your appointment. A date for baptism is confirmed once all of the paperwork has been submitted 14 business days in advance of the date requested.
Baptisms are celebrated within Mass and outside of Mass on the scheduled Sunday. Baptisms within Mass are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Those chosen to be godparents must provide a letter from their parish certifying they are practicing Catholics and fulfill the Church’s requirements for godparents [See Godparent section below]. Godparents must also provide a letter/certificate showing they have taken a baptism preparation class.
The Role of the Godparent
Godparents play a very special role in the faith life of the Child. They are chosen because they are an inspiration of how one is to live the faith. Thus godparents are model Catholics who assist and support the parents in handing on the faith to their child. Choosing someone to be a godparent is separate from choosing someone who will take care of your child in the event of your death. The person who is chosen to be a godparent is someone who is an active participant in the life of the Church and proclaims their faith through their everyday actions. Ideally this person may also serve as a sponsor for confirmation.
Requirements to be a Godparent
Given the above, the Roman Catholic Church has the following requirements to be a godparent. These requirements are universal. Thus, before you invite someone to be a godparent, please make sure they fulfill the Church’s canonical requirements.
- Must be at least 16 years of age and not a parent of the child receiving baptism;
- Must have received Catholic baptism, confirmation, and first communion;
- If married, the marriage must be recognized by the Catholic Church; and
- Must be a practicing Catholic(s) [regularly participating in Sunday Mass and reception of communion; must be living a life in conformity with Catholic teaching].
Godparents must also provide the following:
- A letter from their parish certifying they are Catholics in good standing and fulfill the canonical requirements of the Church;
- A letter/certificate showing they have taken a baptism preparation class within the past two years. [May not take the class on line].
Number of Godparents
There may be a godfather and a godmother for baptism. You may not have two godfathers or two godmothers. A family may also choose to have just one godparent.
A baptized non-Catholic may serve as a Christian Witness along with a Catholic godparent. If the Catholic godparent is female, the Christian Witness must be male [and vice versa]. A Christian Witness at baptism does not take the place of a godparent. A Christian witness is exactly that: a witness that the baptized person did receive the sacrament of baptism.
The name of the Christian witness must be provided ahead of time along with the information for the godparent. Requirements for a Christian witness are:
- Must be at least 16 years of age and not a parent of the child receiving baptism;
- A validly baptized Christian [baptized with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit]; and
- Must be living an upright Christian life.
The Christian witness must provide a letter from their pastor certifying that they have been validly baptized. They must also take a baptism preparation class.
Other Questions about Baptism
Can we have a “Private” Baptism?
All liturgical and sacramental rites are by their very nature communal. There is no such thing as a “private” sacrament. The Second Vatican Council explained that
“Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations belonging to the Church which is the sacrament of unity.” [Constitution on the Liturgy, 26].
May an Ordained Family Member Preside At the Baptism?
Arrangements can be made for an ordained family member to preside at the baptism. This must be coordinated and scheduled with the Ministry Coordinator. If the officiant is not a member of the Diocese of Orlando, he must provide a letter from his bishop or religious superior stating that he is a priest or deacon in good standing.
Is there a required age for baptism?
A newly born infant should be baptized within a reasonable period of time after birth. Parents need to take into consideration the health of the child, etc.
May I have my child baptized in another parish?
Parents may choose to have their child baptized in a church outside their parish church. Normally the church where the baptism takes place will require a letter from your pastor granting permission for a baptism outside the parish. Please remember that the church where the baptism takes place becomes the church of record for the baptism.
What if the parents are not married in the church?
Baptism is not denied to the child if the parents are not married or not married in the Church. Baptism is an occasion of conversion for the entire family. Parents may want to consider getting married in the Church. Parents who were married outside the Church may also want to consider getting their marriage convalidated. This would allow the Catholic parent[s] to receive communion and to model for their child a living faith.
Can baptism be denied?
Baptism may be postponed if there is indication that the parents are not practicing the faith or have no intention of living a Catholic life in harmony with the Gospel. The church seeks to avoid the situation in which a child is baptized catholic, but through the negligence or indifference of the parents, is not raised to actively live the faith. Thus Canon 868.1.2 states “there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.”
Do we have to register for a baptism preparation class?
Parents and godparents must register for the baptism preparation class with the coordinator of baptisms. We do not accept walk-ins. If are late for the class this will be counted as being absent. The class is about 90 minutes.
Are the Godparents the same as a legal guardian of the child if something happens to the parents?
No. A godparent agrees to assist the parents in raising the child to be active in the faith. This is totally different from someone being appointed a legal guardian. This latter position is done through the state in a will or other legal means.
What is a proxy?
A proxy is a person who stands in for an approved godparent who is unable to be present at the baptism. The name of the godparent will appear on the baptismal certificate. The name of the proxy will be included in the sacramental records. The proxy may not be one of the parents and must fulfill the same requirements as a godparent with the exception of taking a baptism preparation class. It cannot be a Catholic who does not fulfill the canonical requirements to be a godparent.
Can a grandparent request baptism for a child?
The request for baptism must come from the parent or legal guardian. A child cannot be baptized with the parent’s knowledge and participation.
Photographic Guidelines & A/V Support
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More information about baptism
- Sacraments 101: Baptism (Why We Baptize) (video from Busted Halo)
- Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ” (from the Vatican)
- Incorporated into Christ’s Body, Sent on Christ’s Mission (from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)