Congratulations on your choice to bring your child into the family of God through baptism into the Church!
For adult baptism, please see Become Catholic
“Holy 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. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213).
What is required for my child to be baptized?
- Instruction: for all parents and godparents who have not yet participated in baptismal orientation. Contact Us to set up a time for instruction. If possible, please make plans to complete this well before the anticipated date of birth.
- For non-parishioners: We require a letter from your pastor granting permission for your baby to be baptized in our parish.
- Consent: At least one parent must consent to the baptism (unless the child is in danger of death)
- Regular Mass Attendance: For an infant, there must be a founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion, normally evidenced through family parish involvement.
- Age: the child must be younger than the age of reason (normally 7). Children who have reached the age of reason are required to go through the OCIA process. See Becoming Catholic.
At what age should I baptize my child?
The Church teaches that parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth. You are encouraged to schedule your baptismal instruction and complete all paperwork prior to the birth of your child.
What is the cost to have my child baptized?
There is no charge for the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals. However the amount of $100 is normally requested as an offering upon the administration of a baptism. However, no one may be deprived of this assistance because of financial inability.
Is there any paperwork that I need to complete?
Please print and complete the Baptism Information Form and submit it to Father Mayer. Also needed is a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
Things to consider when choosing baptism for your child
The decision to have your child baptized is a good opportunity to reflect on what it is you are asking of God’s Church, and to reflect on your own baptism. What has it meant in your own life to be a member of the Body of Christ? How are you currently living out your baptismal commitment today in love and service to God and neighbor? Are you ready to be a Catholic Christian parent, training your child in the active practice of faith, teaching him or her to keep God’s commandments?
Some reasons not to chose baptism for your child
Fear: The only reason that I am baptizing my child is because I am afraid of what my grandparents, parents or other family members will think if I do not do the baptism.
Cultural: The only reason that I am baptizing my child is because in my family this is what we do and have done. Babies are always baptized and then you have a party.
The baptismal date is not set until instruction has been completed and all paperwork (including sponsor/godparent forms) have been submitted and approved
(note, baptism is ordinarily celebrated on Sunday)
What does it mean to be a godparent?
Serving as a godparent is an important commitment and responsibility to help the person being baptized to lead a Christian life and to faithfully fulfill the obligations connected with receiving baptism. The primary role of the godparent is to be a witness of faith and to be willing to share that faith in a supportive way with the godchild as well as to support the faith-life of the parents. Godparents represent the wider Church in welcoming this newest member of the Body of Christ and pledging the support and the prayer of the Church living a life worthy of the dignity of the children of God.
What are the requirements for godparents?
- Be designated by the one to be baptized (in the case of an infant to be baptized, the parents or the person who takes their place or in their absence by the pastor or minister) and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
- Have completed the sixteenth year of age (unless the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause);
- Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
- Not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared (for example, the person must be in a marriage considered valid by the Catholic Church, if living with spouse);
- Not be the father or mother of the one to be confirmed/baptized/received.
- Be instructed properly on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attached to it.
A baptized person who is not Catholic may serve as a witness to the baptism with a Catholic as godparent (sponsor).
How many godparents can a child have?
A child can have one or two godparents, if two, then one must be a man and the other a woman.
What are the next steps to serving as a godparent?
Please print and complete the Godparent/Sponsor Form and get it to Father Mayer either by dropping it off at Mass, emailing it to office@StJamesCC.org or mailing it to the St. James Parsonage, 3725 Lilly Rd. N., Jacksonville, FL 32207.
Contact us about setting up a time of instruction if you have not yet been through baptism orientation.
What if a designated godparent cannot be at the baptism?
If a godparent is physically unable to be at the baptism, the Church allows for the sponsor to appoint in writing a proxy who will be able to physically be at the baptism. If this is your situation please have the godparent complete print and complete this form and have it emailed to office@StJamesCC.org or mailed to the St. James Parsonage, 3725 Lilly Rd. N., Jacksonville, FL 32207.
Contact Us to schedule baptism instruction.