“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19-20) These words of Jesus in the last two verses of Matthew’s Gospel tell us of the importance of baptism. From the early days of the Church we have understood that children should not be deprived of the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, the first of the “sacraments of Christian initiation.”
Welcomed into the Church through baptism it is then the responsibility of parents to nurture their life of faith, raising them in the faith, and assuring that they become integral members of the Church, the Body of Christ. Baptism, then, is not some kind of “magic” and not an end in itself, but rather the first step of their faith journey.
Through baptism one is freed from original sin, reborn as a child of God, and is incorporated into the community of the Church. In the case of children being baptized, they take their place at the request of the parents who are members of that faith community. If there is not a reasonable assurance that a child will be nurtured in the Catholic faith, it would be better for baptism to be delayed for a time (but never denied) until the parents are willing and able to accept their sacred responsibilities as Christian parents.
Infants and children up to about 7 years of age may be baptized at the request of their parents. Children or adolescents from about 7 to 18 years of age, as well as adults, receive age-appropriate catechesis or instruction, either privately with the parish staff or through an organized “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”. These children and adults should contact the parish for enrollment in the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (RCIA) process (see Becoming a Catholic).
How to proceed:
- Parents need to attend pre-baptism instruction before bringing their first child for baptism. Please call the Parish Office to register for a coming pre-baptism session. Pre-baptism classes are ordinarily held on Tuesday evening of the 1st week of the month.
- Parents are expected to be registered and active parishioners of St. Francis Solanus Parish. If for some reason they are from outside this parish, they need to present a letter of permission from the pastor of the parish to which they belong.
- Baptisms usually take place on the 2nd Sunday of the month, and are not celebrated during Lent.
- Parents need to choose a godfather and a godmother, or at least one of these to be a sponsor of their child. At least one of the sponsors needs to be a baptized Catholic, and should be actively practicing the Faith. This is because their role is to help the parents of the baptized child in their responsibilities of raising the child in the Catholic Faith.
- There is no fee or charge for baptism, but it is expected that parents are active, contributing members of time, talent and treasure as participating members of the parish.
- We recognize that parents are the primary teachers of the faith to their children. However, the parish stands by parents in their responsibilities as Christian parents. And so we offer a Catholic school, a Parish School of Religion (PSR), and other lifelong religious education programs.
- In the event of serious health issues, an emergency baptism may be celebrated by a priest or deacon or even by any person celebrating with the form prescribed by the Catholic Church.