From the earliest days of the Church, there was an understanding that children should not be deprived of the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, which the Lord himself proclaimed to be necessary for salvation. Thus, the normal way people are welcomed into the Catholic Church is as an infant. Children are born and baptized and raised in a Church of faith where they are integral members in the larger faith community. To admit children to baptism recognizes their dignity as co-heirs to the kingdom of heaven—a dignity to which all men and women and children are called.
It should be remembered that sacraments, including baptism, are not ‘rewards’ for passing catechism classes or graduating to another level of spiritual formation. Sacraments are pure gifts of God. While the Church is responsible for seeing to it that those who celebrate the sacraments are properly disposed and prepared, the salvation of souls is the highest concern. One who is baptized is integrated into an entire way of living which only begins at the waters of baptism. Baptism takes place within the context of a community of faith at the request of parents who are members of that community. If there is not a reasonable presumption that a baptized child will be nurtured in the ways of the faith, it would be better for a baptism to be delayed for a time (but never denied) until the parents are willing and able to accept their solemn responsibilities as Christian Parents.
Anyone who has not previously been baptized may be baptized. If a child has been previously baptized (in another Christian tradition or in emergency circumstances) there is a separate rite of “Welcoming a Baptized Child to Church” which may be celebrated. Infants and children up to about 7 years old may be baptized at the request of their parents at any time. Children/adolescents from about 7 years of age to about 18 years should receive age-appropriate catechesis, either privately with the parish staff, or through an organized “Rite of Christian Initiation of Children” (RCIC) group. Adults 18 years and older should contact their parish priest for instruction, which normally involves enrollment in the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (RCIA) curriculum.
- Parents must receive appropriate instruction before bringing each of their children to baptism. (This instruction may take place anytime, even before the birth of your child.)
- Parents should be currently registered and active parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish, or they are to present a letter of introduction and permission from their proper pastor where they live.
- Only upon taking the pre-baptism class, is it possible to schedule a date for the baptism. We will not schedule dates over the phone before this time.
- Baptisms typically take place after the last Masses on Saturday or Sunday.
- Parents are to select a godfather, a godmother, or one of each for their child. These sponsors need to be baptized and should be active, practicing Catholics.
- There is never a fee or charge for baptism, but it is expected that parents are active, contributing members of time, talent, and treasure in the ongoing life of the parish.
- The parish stands by to assist you in your job as the first, best teachers of your children in the ways of the faith. We offer a Catholic school, PSR, and other lifelong religious education programs.
- In the event of a serious health issue or medical crisis, an emergency baptism may be celebrated by our priests (anywhere/anytime) or even by any person celebrating with the form prescribed by the Church.