The Church calls the sacrament of Baptism “the gateway to life in the Spirit” “the door which gives access to other sacraments” (CCC#1213). Baptism is the first of the Sacraments of Initiation, together with Confirmation and Eucharist. It is through Baptism that we are incorporated into Christ and formed into God’s people. The General Introduction to Christian Initiation teaches that Baptism “pardons all our sins, rescues us from the power of darkness, and brings us to the dignity of adopted children, a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit. Hence we are called and are indeed children of God” (#2).
Adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely intend to be baptized and to enter into full communion with the Church are admitted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
Children who have reached catechetical age and who wish to be baptized and be fully initiated into the community of the faithful are also prepared, according to their ability and are admitted into the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children.
Infants are baptized at the request of the parent(s) who desire to form a “household” of faith. Parent(s) of the infant and those who accept the responsibility of godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of the Sacrament of Baptism and the obligations which are connected with it.
In choosing Godparents for your child, you need to consider fully initiated members of the Catholic Church who are at least 16 years of age. A fully initiated person is someone who has received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist and who continues to witness to that faith in the great and small ways of everyday living. You want someone who knows that being a Catholic has to do with prayer, with justice toward the poor, with kindness for friends and strangers and being an active member of a faith community. Parents may not serve in this role.
Although, traditionally, parents have chosen a godmother and a godfather for their child, only one godparent is required for baptism. It is also possible to invite a person baptized in another Christian tradition to be a witness at the child’s baptism, along with the Catholic godparent.
Margaret Ostromecki – 244-3010, 381-4200 Mostromecki@dor.org