The Sacrament of Baptism
Holy Spirit Parish celebrates the birth and baptism of a child with great joy and gratitude for the gift of life!
Baptism incorporates us into Christ and forms us into God’s people. This first sacrament takes away the stain of Original Sin, rescues us from the power of darkness, and brings us to the dignity of adopted children. We become a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit. St. Paul says, in baptism we especially, and most importantly, participate with Christ in His death so that we might participate in His resurrection1.
The preparation for baptism and Christian instruction are both a vital concern of God’s people, and the Church, which hands on and nourishes the faith received from the Apostles. Through the ministry of the Church, adults are called to the Gospel by the Holy Spirit and infants are baptized in the faith of the Church and brought up in the practice of that faith2.
Who Administers the Sacrament?
Bishops, priests, and deacons are the ordinary ministers of the sacrament. (Anyone, however, can administer the sacrament in case of an emergency – that is near death – by taking ordinary tap water and making the Sign of the Cross on the forehead, repeating the Trinitarian formula, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Amen):
- In the normal celebration of the sacrament in the church proper, the ordinary ministers should be mindful that they act in the name of the Church, in the name of Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- They should therefore be diligent and careful in the manner that they celebrate this sacrament.They must avoid any action that the faithful could rightly regard as favoritism, or allowing baptism to be celebrated on behalf of the parents for the sake of the ritual with little or no intention to raise them in the practice of the faith.
- Except in a case of necessity, these ministers are not to confer baptism outside their own territory, even on their own subjects without the requisite permission3. Baptism must take place in the church proper, either in the main body of the church or in a chapel.
Responsibility of Godparents/Sponsors
In the celebration of baptism, the part of the godparents or sponsors, together with the parents, is to testify to the Church’s faith in which the child/children are to be baptized. 4
What constitutes a Godparent/Sponsor?
Therefore a godparent (or sponsor as they are called canonically), chosen by the families of children to be baptized, must, in the judgment of the pastor, be qualified to carry out the proper liturgical functions:
- Godparents/Sponsors are persons, other than the parents, who are designated by the parents to stand in their place, or in the absence of godparents, the pastor or the minister of baptism stand in their place.Each child to be baptized must have at least one sponsor.They may have either a godmother or a godfather, or more traditionally have both a godmother and a godfather.Only one of each sex is to be employed6. This reflects the anthropological nature of the creation of the human species in Genesis, He created them male and female.7
- Those designated as a sponsor must have the capability and intention of carrying out the responsibility of a godparent, and the wishes of the parent(s) to raise the child in the practice of the Catholic faith, especially if anything would happen to the parent.
- A sponsor must be sixteen years of age.8
- Those designated as sponsors or godparents must have received the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Eucharist (First Holy Communion), and Confirmation. They must be living a life consistent with faith, and be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church.
- If married, they must be in a valid marriage (that is, married in the Catholic Church, or married outside the Church with the bishop’s permission).
- At the request of the parents, a baptized and believing Christian not belonging to the Catholic Church may act as a Christian witness along with at least one Catholic godparent/sponsor.There can be more than one Christian witness.This makes common sense in mixed marital situations.
Pre-registration for Baptismal Preparation is necessary. The Preparation classes are scheduled year-round, generally on the first Monday of each month. The class is at 6:30 p.m., held in the Fireside Room near the parish office. Both parents are required to attend. Please call the parish office at 371-2320 to register for the class, and to confirm the date of the class.
Parents who have had a prior child or children baptized at Holy Spirit are exempt from taking the class multiple times, however, the pastor encourages that they attend as a part of continuing catechesis. However, the Catholic sponsor(s)/godparent(s) must submit a Sponsor/Godparent Eligibility Certificate.
Download the 2012 Baptism Information.
1 – General Instruction of the Rite of Baptism, no. 1
2 – Ibid, no. 7
3 – General Instruction of the Rite of Baptism, no. 11
4 – Ibid, no. 9
5 – Ibid, no. 10
6 – Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), can. 873
7 – Gen. 1:27
8 – Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), can. 874 no. 1.2
9 – Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), can. 874 no. 2