We welcome those who desire to have their child baptized in the Catholic Church. Just as the birth of this child was a blessed event, the rebirth of the child also serves as an occasion most blessed by God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states first of all: “Holy 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: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word.’” (Section 1213)
As a baptized person, your child is an integral part of the faith community of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian. The newly baptized child becomes a member of the body of Christ.
Baptism cleanses your child from Original Sin, makes your child a member of the body of Christ and leads him or her toward the other sacraments of the Catholic Church, including Eucharist, Penance, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders. It provides for the child the opportunity to participate fully in the celebration of the Eucharist and other aspects of parish life. This is, indeed, an occasion for celebration.
We strongly encourage you to plan to have your child baptized shortly after their birth. Church Law and teaching says:
Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it. If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay. (Code of Canon Law 867 §1,§2)
The Catechism also states:
Parents deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer baptism shortly after birth. (CCC #1250)
Infant baptisms can be scheduled by contacting the rectory office at 202-546-1885 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If the child to be baptized is older than 6 years of age, they may be required to attend Sunday School classes but that will be determined once you speak with staff. When you call, the staff will request some basic information before presenting it to the Pastor who will schedule the baptism date. We request that at least one parent attend an instructional class on the the sacrament of baptism. The date and time of the class will be determined once you register for the baptism. The sponsors are encouraged, though not required to attend the instructional class. The class is usually 1 hour in length and held at the rectory on a weekend.
CHOOSING SPONSORS (Godparents)
Please observe the following norms in the selection of sponsors (Godparents) for your child:
- The purpose of a sponsor (often call a Godparent) is to present an infant for baptism along with the parents and to help the child lead a Catholic Christian life in keeping with baptism and fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. Parents ought to therefore chose godparents who are able to help in this regard and to see to the faith development of their child should they be unable to do so. (cf Canon 872; 874.1)
- There is to be only one male sponsor, or one female sponsor, or one of each. (Canon 873) Thus, having more than two sponsors, or two males or two females is not in accord with Church norms.
- A Sponsor must have completed the sixteenth year of age.
- A Sponsor must be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on.
- The father or mother of the one to be baptized cannot be the sponsor of that child.
- Non-Catholic Christians cannot be sponsors (godparents) but they can serve as a witness, provided the other sponsor is a Catholic.
Some Catechetical resources for Baptism:
- An Instruction on the Sacrament of Baptism
- Why We baptize infants and why Parents ought not delay baptism for their Children
Here is a helpful five-minute video