The Code of Canon Law (the Law of the Church) tells us, “Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments and necessary for salvation by actual reception or at least by desire, is validly conferred only by a washing of true water with the proper form of words. Through baptism men and women are freed from sin, are reborn as children of God, and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church.”
Our Baptisms and Baptism classes are conducted every other month. The child’s Baptism can occur during one of the parish Masses (preferred), or can be conducted at a public ceremony after one of the Masses.
What are the requirements for baptism?
For a child to be baptized in the Catholic Church, there must be a basis for hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. In practice, this generally means that at least one parent is Catholic. Like many dioceses in the United States, our Diocese requires parents to participate in Baptism preparation before the baptism of their children.
The child may be up to six years old for a traditional baptism to occur. At age 7 and older, Canon law requires baptism to be followed by Confirmation and Eucharist. The parish staff can help you with this.
What about single parents or parents who weren't married in the church?
St. Joseph welcomes every parent to bring your child forward for baptism, no matter what your circumstances may be. Again, there must be the hope that the child will be raised in the Faith. This means attending religious education classes and receiving Eucharist and Confirmation at the appropriate times and ages.
What are the requirements for godparents?
A person may only have one or two godparents (also called sponsors); if two are chosen, they must be male and female.
In order for someone to be eligible as a godparent, these are the requirements…
They are chosen by the parents,
They have the ability and the intention to fulfill the role,
They must be at least 16 years of age, and…
They must be a confirmed Roman Catholic, who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist, is leading a life in harmony with the Catholic Faith (including Marriage) and will be a good role model for the one being baptized,
They cannot the father nor the mother of the child.
A baptized person who belongs to another Christian community may be admitted only as a “Christian witness” (not a godparent) provided that there is at least one Roman Catholic godparent who fulfills the above criteria. A non-baptized person cannot be a witness.
Why must we attend baptism classes?
We provide baptism preparation sessions at regular intervals for parents having their first child baptized. Parents are welcome to participate with subsequent children.
During the baptism ceremony, parents and god parents make solemn promises about how they will raise and train their child. Our baptism preparation classes are designed to help parents of children to be baptized understand the sacrament both from a spiritual and practical sense. We will discuss the theology of the sacrament of baptism, as well as practical aspects of the ceremony itself.
It is extremely important to take your faith-life seriously because, before God, you have taken on an awesome responsibility for the salvation of another—your own child! Your commitment and openness to baptismal preparation will help develop the faith-life of your child as he/she matures.
Please contact the parish office for a booklet outlining the Baptism Policies and Procedures.