“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
(Romans 6:3, 8, 11)
The Sacrament of Baptism opens the door to a new life in Jesus Christ… a life that goes beyond our death and into the life of heaven after our death.
Baptism is the Sacrament of salvation: an encounter with God that cleanses us from sin, makes us true children of God, and incorporates us into the body of Christ, the Church.
This great gift is offered to all who believe and to the children of families of faith. Since her earliest days, the Church has baptized adults and children because it is the only ordinary way God has revealed that we may receive the grace of salvation through this sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is the first of the Sacraments of Initiation. The other two are Confirmation and Holy Communion (Eucharist). Children typically receive the other Sacraments of Initiation after reaching age 7 and before age 16.
Baptism of Infants and Children (under age 7)
Q: What do I need to do to have my child, who is not yet 7 years old, baptized at St. Augustine’s?
A: Although we recommend registering as a member of the parish if you have not done so already, you may still have your child baptized in the Church, even though you are not a member.
One of the parents (or the child’s legal guardian) must be the one to ask for Baptism for the child. We understand that sometimes grandparents wish to have their grandchildren Baptized, but we cannot do so without the active engagement and knowledge of the parents.
We ask that one of the parents complete the Baptism Information form which is used to record the information in our sacramental register. At that time, parents may indicate the date when they would like to baptize their child.
Parents must choose at least one godparent and may choose two. If they choose two, it must be a male and a female (not two males or two females), in accordance with Church law. (see below for requirements for Godparents).
Parents should attend a Baptism Preparation session unless they have attended a preparation session in the last couple of years. When complete the form we’ll advise you of upcoming Baptism preparation session dates.
Parents must make sure the Godparents complete the Godparent Attestation form no less than one week prior to the Baptism.
Q: When are baptisms celebrated?
A: Baptisms are celebrated on the first Sunday of the month. In English, they are celebrated after the 8:30 AM Mass; in Spanish, they are celebrated after the 1:15 PM Mass.
Q: What are the requirements for godparents?
A: The godparent is a person who:
- Has been chosen by the parents of the child who will be baptized or the child’s legal guardian
- Is sixteen (16) years old or older
- Is Catholic and has received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
- Leads a life congruent with the Faith and with the role that s/he will assume
- Is not affected by a canonical penalty (eg. if married, is married in accordance with the laws of the Catholic Church (not only civilly); if single, not living with a partner)
- Is neither the father nor the mother of the child to be baptized
The parents must see to it that the godparent completes the Affidavit to be a godparent attesting that s/he meets all of these requirements (see Wanda Alvarado in the office to do this process). If the godparents belong to another parish, they should go to their parish and ask for a Godparent form — this form should have the parish seal — and forward this form to the parish no less than a week prior to the Baptism.
Q: Do the godparents have to attend the baptism preparation sessions?
A: Godparents are encouraged to attend the preparation sessions with the parents as part of their commitment to support them in raising their child in the faith (which is the commitment which godparents make).
Q: The person I want as a godparent is Catholic and a good person but doesn’t meet all these requirements. Can they be godparents anyway?
A: It is wonderful that there are people in your life whom you want to be part of your child’s life and whom you believe would be good role models for him/her. However, Baptism is not just a family event, it is a Sacrament of the Church, and being a Baptismal Godparent is not just about being ‘good people’ or friends of the family. A Godparent is someone who represents the Church, the Body of Christ, to this child. The aforementioned requirements are requirements according to the universal Catholic law (not only of our parish) that reflect the particular function that this person will assume. Also, please keep in mind that just because a person cannot be a Godparent does not mean they cannot have an important place in their child’s life. Your child will only benefit from having more adults interested and engaged in their future and welfare.
Q: When are the baptism preparation sessions offered?
A: Baptism Preparation sessions are offered once a month. When you complete the form, we will contact you with upcoming dates.
Baptism of Adults
Following the spread of Christianity in the first few generations after the resurrection of Jesus, the Catholic Church developed a process to prepare adults for entry into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion (Eucharist). Today, the Church calls this process the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA. Through this process, adults who express interest in becoming Catholic Christians are welcomed into our parish community to join with us and learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church, to develop a personal relationship with Christ, to have their questions answered, and ultimately, to prepare for the reception of the Sacraments and full participation in the life of the Body of Christ, the Church.
If you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Church, or exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic, please speak with a priest or deacon or any parishioner after Mass, or call the office and ask to speak with Amanda Roberts at 804.298.7135.
Baptism of Children and Youth (ages 7 and up)
Older children and youth who have not yet been baptized are considered “adults” when it comes to the reception of Sacraments. This is because at about age 7 they are able to distinguish right from wrong and take personal responsibility for their sins; they are also able to make a profession of faith on their own. Granted, they are children and youth and won’t be able to understand the truths of our faith with the depth an adult may be able to understand, but, Sacraments are not just about understanding, they are about faith and about responding to God’s initiative in our lives, and children and youth are capable of these.
Children and youth who seek to become Catholic and receive the Sacraments of Initiation, participate in the Christian formation programs for their age and in additional preparation sessions and ritual celebrations that mark their progress in this journey into full participation in the life of the Church. Parents, please contact us so that we can help you get started.