WHAT IS BAPTISM?
“Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.”–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213
In Baptism, we are marked as a child of God and offered the gift of salvation, initiation into the Christian community, and the beginning of life in Jesus Christ. Baptism opens the door to the other sacraments, with Eucharist and Confirmation completing the initiation process.
At St. Matthew, we are honored to have the responsibility of preparing parents for this Sacrament and aiding them in any spiritual growth necessary. The responsibility of teaching a child about Christ and the Church belongs primarily to the parents and is a lifelong commitment. The goal of the Baptism Preparation is to empower parents to grow in their own faith life. It is difficult to pass on a faith that was learned as a child but not lived as an adult.
HOW DO I HAVE MY CHILD BAPTIZED AT ST. MATTHEW?
- Fill out this Baptism Form.
- Attend a Baptism Preparation Class. Classes are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 7-8:30pm in the parish basement. * If you have already attended a class at this or another parish, indicate that on your baptism form and you will be given at-home preparation instructions. *
- Choose an eligible Godparent(s). If you are choosing two godparents, one must be male and the other female. If you are choosing only one godparent, you may have either gender. All Catholic Godparents: Must be 16 years of age or older; Must have received all 3 Sacraments of Initiation into the Catholic Church (Baptism, First Eucharist, Confirmation); If married, must be validly married in the Catholic Church; Must be currently practicing the faith and witnessing by their faith choices (attending Mass regularly, having children educated in the faith through their parish or a Catholic school, fulfilling their Easter duty by confession of serious sins annually and receipt of the Eucharist during the Easter season).
- One of the Godparents may be a Christian Witness, someone baptized in a church with valid Baptism (Baptism done with water and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Please note: Because the Catholic sponsor/godparent is one who leads a life in harmony with the faith and represents the Catholic community, former Catholics who have joined other Christian Churches, Catholics who no longer practice their Catholic faith or those who have been baptized Catholic but have not received Eucharist and/or Confirmation cannot serve as either a sponsor/godparent or Christian witness.
- Turn in Godparent Form(s). Selected Godparents must be given, or must download the Godparent Form and fill it out according to their eligibility and have their Catholic parish sign and seal the bottom of the form to confirm that eligibility. Completed forms must be returned to St. Matthew Parish, Attention: Katie Ryzenga.
- Schedule a Baptism. Once the completed Godparent form(s) are received we move forward to schedule the baptism. Baptisms cannot be scheduled until preparation is completed or scheduled and Godparents forms are turned into the parish office. In general, baptisms are celebrated on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month immediately after the noon Mass. Baptisms are not celebrated during the last few weeks of Lent but are celebrated on Easter Sunday during the noon Mass or at the Easter Vigil. The child’s Baptism will NOT be scheduled until the godparent forms are received.
- The Pastor reserves the right to postpone the baptism if preparation needs have not been met or if a family presents godparents who do not fulfill these criteria until such godparents are found.
Non-parishioners? If you are a parishioner at another parish, we need a signed letter with a parish seal from that pastor granting permission for your child to be baptized at St. Matthew. If you live within the parish bounds and want to baptize your child and start living out your Catholic faith here, please register as parishioners.
Single parent? In most circumstances this will not prevent a timely Baptism for your child. The most important elements are permission from all parents with custody of the child and a potential meeting with a priest to make sure you have all spiritual resources that you need.
Parents unmarried or not married in the Catholic Church? You will be required to meet with a priest to share about your journey and receive an invitation from the Church for a Sacramental marriage.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Is there a fee to have my child Baptized?
There is not a fee but many parents make a free will gift to the priest or deacon for his services.
When will I receive the Baptism Certificate for my child?
The parish office will mail the Baptism certificate to you within a few weeks after the Baptism. If your child ever needs a copy of their baptism certificate later, perhaps for school registration or for marriage, you can contact the parish office.
What should my child wear for Baptism?
A white garment is an ancient sign of the newly baptized Christian’s new life in Christ. Your child’s baptismal garment need not be a traditional baptismal or christening gown; it can be any clothing that is predominately white.