Baptism is the sacrament through which someone is united to Christ, to His Church and to His way of living. It is the way that we are incorporated into the Body of Christ. We accept Christ as our Head and we understand and accept that we become members of His Body (the Church). This requires a fundamental recognition that we cannot save ourselves, but in fully embracing Christ Jesus we can experience the salvation that he offers. In the case of an infant (someone six years of age or younger), it is the parents or legal guardians who present the child for Baptism. The pastor is required by canon law to ascertain that the child will, in fact, be raised in Catholic faith. To baptize without the expectation that the child will be raised in the practice of the faith would be to engage an empty ritual. An older child must have an age-appropriate understanding of the Catholic faith and assent to it.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Baptism:
What if the parents are not married, or are not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church?
That does not factor into the Baptism requirements, as long as there is a legitimate expectation that the child will be raised Catholic.
Who can be godparents?
Godparents must be Catholics in good standing who are reasonably consistent in the practice of their faith. Usually, the pastor of the prospective godparents writes a letter attesting to their appropriate status. If the prospective godparent is not registered in a Catholic parish, it will be very difficult to obtain such a letter. If the role of the godparents is to be a help to the parents in raising the new Catholic in the knowledge and experience of the faith, then it makes sense that they should be good models of practicing that faith. Asking someone to be a godparent for your child should concern much more than simply wanting to honor a family friend or relative, they should be the best models of Catholic faith that you can find.
Can we choose two women (or two men) to be our child's godparents?
No. Canon law is clear. You may choose to have only one godparent, or if you choose two, one must be a woman and one must be a man. It is possible, however, to have just one godparent and also one Christian (non-Catholic) witness. It is not permitted to have more than two godparents.
When is the Sacrament of Baptism offered at St. Norbert's?
Because this is the primary Sacrament of incorporation into the community, we celebrate it in the midst of the assembly during one of the Sunday Masses, usually about once a month. This is a wonderful way for the parish to welcome its newest members. Only in special circumstances (for pastoral reasons) might we offer the Sacrament in a different setting.
How do I sign up for my child's Baptism?
Contact the parish office (610.644.1655) and the parish secretary will be happy to take down the necessary information. You will be told about the Baptism preparation sessions that are required of the parents. When everything is in order you will be able to schedule your child's Baptism.