Baptisms are scheduled in our church on most Sundays after the 1:30 PM Mass.
Baptisms in Spanish are on the second and fourth Saturdays at 2:30 PM
Baptism is the beginning of the Christian life. A child should be baptized as soon as possible after birth. Some parents, for whatever reason, delay the baptism of their children until the children are one or two years of age or older. This is not the practice of the Church. We believe that we should share our faith with children from infancy. Just as a child exists as a member of his or her family from birth, the child should be part of God’s family, the church, as soon as possible after birth. The child should be baptized within a month after birth.
Parents should realize that the baptism of their child is the beginning of the journey of faith. Sadly, many people look at the baptism ceremony as simply the occasion of a celebration, a family gathering, or a party. Those things are fine as long as we see that Baptism is the beginning of the process of training children in the faith. Parents should bring their infants to Mass. Our Lord himself said, “Let the little children come unto me.” (If the child has some difficulty, a parent can bring the child into the vestibule to calm the child down.) There is no reason not to bring the child to Church. The child should see the Church as God’s house, but also as his or her house, the house of prayer where we come to show our love for God Our Father.
When parents are selecting godparents for their children, they should pick wisely. A godparent should be like a “second parent” to the child in matters of faith. The godparent should not just be there for the baptism ceremony and then no longer be part of the child’s spiritual life. The godparents should encourage the child to grow in faith, to come to Mass, to receive the other sacraments. Sometimes a godparent does this so well that when the child comes to the time of selecting a sponsor for Confirmation, he or she picks the godparent from baptism. To make it clear, our usual custom is to have two godparents, a man and a woman (although only one is necessary). At least one must be a practicing Catholic who has been confirmed. If the other is not a Catholic, that person accepts the role of being a “Christian witness” and accepts the responsibility of encouraging the child to grow in the Catholic faith. Parents should select relatives or long-time friends as godparents for their children. If a Catholic godparent is not a member of this parish, then that godparent should bring a form from the pastor of their parish indicating that they are a practicing catholic in good standing with the Church. If a godparent is married, they must be married by the Church.
In the baptism ceremony, we remind parents that they are “the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith.” Parents should make their home a “little church.” Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II before him have called the family “the domestic church.” The child should grow up seeing a crucifix in the home, a statue of Our Lady, a picture of a favorite saint, and other religious articles. When the child gets older, parents should read to him or her from a Children’s Bible. Prayer should be the ordinary thing in the family. Before bed, parents can pray briefly with their children. It does not have to be long prayers, just a simple talking with God. And of course the best of family prayers is the Rosary. How wonderful it would be if each family said a decade of the Rosary together each night, parents and children together, remembering that “A family that prays together stays together.”
When the children are old enough (i.e., First Grade in school), they should begin their formal religious education, either in our Religious Education Program for public school children or in Catholic school (where religion is taught daily). Parents should not put off the religious training of their children. The policy of the Archdiocese is that children must be in their second year of religious instruction in order to prepare for First Holy Communion. Since the proper age for First Communion is Second Grade, children should begin religious education in Grade 1. Please bring this to the attention of friends who may have children in public school.
Obviously children should come to Mass every Sunday or Saturday evening. I mentioned above about bringing little children to Mass. This, of course, is true of older children as well. Since children can generally not come to Mass by themselves, they depend on parents to bring them. Parents should not le anything get in the way of coming to Mass on Sunday with their children. The saddest thing to hear from children is the statement, “I wanted to come to Mass on Sunday, but no one would take me.” Of course there are so many things to do, but Mass should be the priority. There is nothing more important than praising and thanking God each Sunday.
In our parish, parents are asked to attend the BAPTISM PREPARATION CLASS when they wish to arrange the baptism of their child. Parents should register for this class by filling out the proper form at the rectory. When they attend the class (which is usually on the second and fourth Thursday evenings of the month at 7PM in the church), they should be on time and bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate as well as the godparents' confirmation certificate and either a godparent's marriage certificate (if necessary) or the letter of suitability from the godparent's home parish saying that they can be godparents. Godparents are encouraged to come to the Baptism preparation class as well. Baptisms in Spanish are on the second and fourth Saturdays at 2:30 PM. Baptisms in English are held every Sunday after the 1:30 PM Mass.
I hope this information is helpful to you, particularly to parents and prospective parents. May we all appreciate the Sacrament of Baptism more and more. May we remember how blessed we are to be BAPTIZED IN CHRIST.