F A Q About The Baptism of your child
A. What steps do we need to take to have our child baptised?
1. Parents must notify the Parish Priest of their desire to have their child baptised. If needs be, they arrange for an interview.
2. Both parents and godparents may need to attend some Baptism Preparation Sessions. Details of these sessions will be dealt with in the interview the parents will have with the parish priest.
3. The Baptism takes place in the parish church on a Saturday or Sunday.
4. The issue of stipends (offerings) is dealt with in the interview with the Parish Priest.
B. My Husband/wife is not Catholic, and he/she would like his/her sister/brother to be godparent to our child. Is this possible?
For the Church it is necessary that there should at least one godparent who is a practising, responsible Catholic and whose primary role is to that of supporting the parents in bringing up the child in the Christian faith. If there are there are two, provided one of the godparents is Catholic, it is allowed for a non-Catholic to act as a witness to the baptism. It is important, however, that this person is baptised, upright, and of sufficient age and maturity. Therefore godparents must not be less than sixteen years old, and be Catholics who are confirmed, receive the Eucharist, and live a life of faith.
C. I have been a lapsed for a number of years now and my eight year child has never been baptised. Could I have our eight-year-old baptised at the same time as our baby?
Of course, but you have to allow time for your eight-year old child's preparation too. He/She will need to be given some instruction about her baptism. You will find preparation helpful for yourself too, at least in terms of clarifying any points about faith which have given you difficulties.It may also be helpful to speak to the priest about this. The best way to approach the priest is definitely not after Sunday Mass because there are usually people crowding around. And usually the priest may be too pre-occupied. Rather try to book a convenient time for the both of you in order to meet in an atmosphere of quiet and peace.
D. My baby was baptised at birth because of illness. Can they be "re-baptized" in church?
Baptism is only celebrated once; it is a once in a lifetime event. In Baptism we become a member of God's family. We cannot become what we already are. Moreover, Baptism cannot be repeated because it imparts a character (Can 845#1).
E. Should I only give my child the name of a saint?
The law does not require that the child be given a saint's name, but forbids a name that would be offensive to Christians. Therefore, the parents, godparents and the priest are to see to it that the name given is not foreign to Christian sensibilities(Can. 855). [cf. Huels, J M 1995. The Pastoral Companion: A Canon Law handbook for Catholic ministry. Quincy: Franciscan Press, p. 50]
F. I am an unmarried mother/father. I want my baby baptised but am anxious about the kind of reception I will get.
You will, definitely, be given a friendly welcome by the priest who will be happy arrange for the baptism of your child. Don't worry at all. The Church only requires assurance from you of your child's Catholic upbringing.
G. Think About This!
1. Why do you wish your child to be baptised into the Catholic faith?
2. What kind of a Catholic are you? How important is your faith for you? Is the Lord the Master of your life?
3. What does belonging to the Church really mean to you?
4. What religious values do you most hope to pass on to your child?
5. What kind of a person do you most hope your child will be?
6. Does the name you have chosen reveal something of that wish?