Baptism of Children FAQ
(For information on Baptism of Adults please go to the Becoming Catholic? page.)
Welcoming a child into the Catholic community of our Parish through the Sacrament of Baptism is our solemn privilege, pleasure and responsibility. The following gives guidance on how to get your child baptised at St John Vianney.
Making the arrangements for the baptism of your baby is quite a simple process. Download the Baptismal Request Form from here, complete the details and arrange to see Fr Jonathan.
How do I prepare for my child’s baptism?
Fr Jonathan will put you in touch with a member of the Parish Baptismal Preparation Team. They will visit you at home and will talk to you about the necessary arrangements for the baptism to take place. You will be expected to attend a Baptismal Preparation Meeting alongside other families who are preparing to have their children baptised. This is partly to enable you to participate actively in the baptismal ceremony, but also to assist you in preparing to take on the responsibilities of bringing up your child in the practice of the Catholic faith. Babies cannot have faith themselves but, from earliest days, the Church has baptised them in the expectation that their parents will nurture the gift of faith as they nurture the physical and mental life of their children. The Church is therefore obliged to make sure that there is a well-founded hope that your child will be brought up in the Catholic faith.
Who can be baptised?
Baptism can only be administered when at least one parent is a Catholic. If the other parent is not a Catholic, they are under no obligation to assist in the Catholic upbringing of the child, though of course it can be a great help if they do. Baptism cannot be repeated, and Baptism carried out by most Christian denominations is normally recognised as valid by the Catholic Church.
Does my child need to have a Christian name?
Yes, it is important that your child has a Christian name, that is, a name that has been held by one of the saints. If the legal name of your child does not include a Christian name, you will be required to give them an additional name at their baptism.
Who can be a Godparent to my child?
You will be required to choose at least one godparent to assist in the Catholic upbringing of the child, but you can choose to have two if you wish. The godparent should normally be 16 or over and a practising Catholic who has been Confirmed and made their First Holy Communion. Baptised non-Catholic Christians can be witnesses in addition to the Catholic godparent. If you cannot find a suitable godparent yourself, the parish priest can nominate someone. If the godparent cannot attend the baptism, they can act by proxy.
When is baptism celebrated?
Baptism is normally celebrated on Sundays, either in the late morning after 10am Mass, or during the Mass itself. The normal length of a baptism service is 25-40 minutes. In exceptional circumstances, other arrangements can be made.
Can I have my child’s baptism celebrated in another parish?
Baptism is normally celebrated in the parish you reside in. It is the expectation that this is the regular parish community that you worship with. If you wish to have your child baptised in another parish, permission for this to take place must be obtained from your parish priest.
I have an older child who needs to be baptised. What do I do?
Children over the age of seven will undergo preparation for baptism differently, through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children. Please contact Fr Jonathan for more information about this.