Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love.


The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life

The sacrament of Baptism not only gives us sanctifying grace: it also makes us adopted children of God and heirs of heaven.

Baptism is the one sacrament that all Christian denominations share in common. In the Catholic Church, infants are baptized to welcome them into the Catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with. Baptism is the first holy sacrament followed by: Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage and Holy Order.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), Baptism “is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments,”.  Because Baptism is the “first of the Sacraments,” the Church takes care in evangelizing those persons who desire to become members of the household of faith.  This process includes the sharing of the faith and formation in the regular practice of this faith; this is the responsibility of the entire Parish Community through the leadership of the pastor.


Adults should go through a catechumenate and have the intention to be baptized. Those who have been baptized as Catholics but have failed in religious practice, or members of another Christian denomination who wish to be received in full communion, should also join the catechumenate. In such cases a clear distinction must be made between the baptized and unbaptized. A young catechumen still under parental care will follow a modified catechumenate programme. Adults who have gone through the catechumenate are to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist during the Easter Vigil. For pastoral reasons, those who are not yet 13 years of age should be confirmed only after participating in the approved preparation course for Confirmation. Priests assigned to a parish are permitted to baptize persons fourteen (14) years and over without previously referring the matter to the diocesan Bishop.


Parents and sponsors supply the faith lacking in the infant to be baptized. Therefore, they, especially parents, are to be suitably instructed about the nature of Baptism and the obligations attached to the sacrament, including their own baptism. Parents and Sponsors are required to attend pre-baptismal instructions and may participate in the required preparation programme even during pregnancy.  The pastor is to see to it that parents are properly formed by pastoral directions and by common prayer, gathering several families together and where possible visiting them. For the requisites for lawful baptizing of infants see Rite of Baptism of Children. There must be a well-founded hope of an upbringing in the Roman Catholic Faith and if this is truly lacking, baptism must be postponed. Where Baptism is postponed, pastoral follow-up is necessary. An infant of Catholic parents, indeed of non-Catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptized even if the parents are opposed to it. Prudence should be exercised in such cases. However, if a child is adopted, the names of the adopting parents are to be recorded, and also, if possible, the names of the biological parents. Since those who are legally related by reason of adoption cannot validly marry each other it is important that adoption be recorded in the Register of Baptism.

Venue for Baptism

Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a Church or oratory. The proper place of baptism of an infant is the Parish Church of the parents. When a baptism takes place outside of the proper parish or chapel, then the Parish Priest should be consulted in advance. Except in case of necessity, it is unlawful for anyone without due permission to confer Baptism outside of his own parish even in the case of his subjects.

(Revised) Rite of Baptism

A baptized non-Catholic may be admitted only as a Christian witness in company with Catholic sponsors.  N.B.: A member of a non-Catholic denomination may serve as a “witness” to the baptism as long as a Catholic serves in the role of godparent/sponsor.  No more than two sponsors’ names are to be recorded in the baptismal register. A non-Christian may not serve as godparent or witness under any circumstance. To be admitted to the office of Godparent/Sponsor a person.

  1. Must be at least sixteen (16) years of age;
  2. Must be a Catholic who has been confirmed, has already received the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken;
  3. If married, the Sponsor’s marriage must be recognized as being valid by the Church;
  4. Must not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized;
  5. A letter from the sponsor’s home parish is required.

The preparation for and reception of all sacraments is to take place within the parish community [of the one to be baptized].

Adult Converts

In the case of converts (i.e., those born and baptized outside the Roman Catholic Church and now desirous of embracing the Catholic Faith) no abjuration of heresy or absolution from excommunication is required, only the Profession of Faith. If it is believed that a person is validly baptized in a Christian Faith Community, a copy of the baptismal certificate must be obtained.  If there is any doubt, the Chancery should be notified. We accept the validity of Baptism in the Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist, Moravian, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.  Any person in these faith Communities is to be received into the Church, but not neglecting proper catechesis.   Others should be baptized conditionally. Conditional baptism: If there is doubt about the fact, whether someone was baptized, or whether the baptism was validly conferred, and this doubt remains after serious investigation, then baptism should be administered conditionally  and in private. Whenever an adult convert is baptized conditionally entries are to be made in the Parish Records.

Preparation & Reception of Adult Converts: R.C.I.A.

The new formula for the reception of converts supposes that they shall normally be received during Mass, be confirmed by the Priest who receives them into the Church and receive Holy Communion. After a person’s reception into the Catholic Church, the Priest should enter into the Parish Baptismal Register: the name of the person, the name(s) of the Sponsor(s), the date and place of birth, the date and place of reception, and the name of the Priest or Minister who received him/her. Special care should be taken to record this information when persons are received into the Church through the R.C.I.A. process. Without recourse to the Local Ordinary, priests [of the Diocese] assigned to a parish may admit to the Church converts to the Catholic Church, as well as baptized Catholics returning from temporary membership in any other faith. If necessary, a notation of return to the Church after formal defection is to be made in the Register of Baptism. In the case of Catholics who have culpably deserted the Catholic Faith to join another religion, and who now repent and seek reconciliation, there is still required abjuration, Profession of Faith and absolution from excommunication “in foro interno et in foro externo”.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I have my child baptized?

Parents are encouraged to baptize their child within the first few weeks after their birth. We do, however, ask parents & godparents to attend a baptism preparation class before presenting their child for this sacrament. This is to ensure that parents & godparents fully understand the sacrament and their expected roles in raising the child in their Catholic faith..

What if my child is older than 7 years of age?
What do I need to register my child for baptism?
How are baptisms scheduled? Where and when are they held?
How much does it cost to baptize my child?
Must both parents be Catholic?
What if the parents of the child are not married?
What if we were not married in the Catholic Church?
How many godparents may I have?
What are the requirements for being a godparent?
Can someone serve as godparent by proxy (stand-in) if the godparent is unable to participate in the baptism ceremony?
Can a non-Catholic serve as a godparent?
What is the difference between a godparent and a witness?