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Baptism - Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
How long after the birth of a child should the Baptism take place?

Answer:
As soon as possible after the birth: Parents are obliged to see to it that infants are baptized within the first weeks after birth; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it. Parents are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared for it properly (Code of Canon Law 867.1). An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without any delay (Code of Canon Law 867.2).

Question:
Must we give our child the name of a saint to be baptized?

Answer:

A saint's name is not a requirement. A baptismal name that is offensive to Christians is not permitted.

Question:
We are in the process of adopting a child or have adopted a child. What steps are needed to have the child baptized?

Answer:
In the case of adoption please contact the Pastor. Such cases require some minor paperwork.

Question:
Can I change the names one or both godparents after the baptism?

Answer:
No. Examples of changes permitted the Chancellors Office:
• Add or change to reflect the "new" legal father or mother.
• Change of last name.
• Correct the errors in original baptismal entry.
Changes do not include a change in the sponsors (godparents). The names of godparents are not erased or changed (Pastoral Manual, 1997 edition: Diocese of Rockville Centre).

Question:
What are to requirements for being a godparent (sponsor) at Baptism?

Answer:
Code of Canon Law 874.1
• One sponsor must be Catholic.
• The Catholic must be at least 16 years old and baptized and confirmed living an upright life no penalties (e.g., left the Church, etc.). Therefore, a Catholic who has left the Catholic Church cannot be a sponsor, and cannot be a "Christian Witness" if they join another Christian communion.
• Cannot be either parent

Question:
Can a baptized non-Catholic be a godparent?

Answer:
Yes. Such a person is known as a Christian witness. In this situation the godparent must be a Catholic. The Christian witness must be at least 16 years old, a validly baptized Christian, living an upright life. Cannot be either parent. Cannot be a Catholic who has left the Church.

Question:
Can a non-baptized person (i.e. a Jewish or Muslim person) be a godparent?

Answer:
No. Because of the duties of a godparent to assist the parents of the child in passing on the Christian faith. At the celebration of the sacrament parents and godparents are asked to profess publicly their faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If the person wishes to convert to Christianity in the Catholic Church, then their own reception of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist must take place prior to the child's baptism.

Question:
Can we have two godmothers or two godfathers?

Answer:
No. There may be one godfather, one godmother, or one of each (Code of Canon Law 873).

Question:
What are the duties of parents and godparents?

Answer:
In infant baptism the godparent, together with the parents, presents
the child for baptism and helps the baptized to lead the Christian life in harmony with baggptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations connected with it (Code of Canon Law 872)

Question:
What if the godparent cannot be present for the Baptism?

Answer:
If the godparent cannot be present in person, he or she may appoint another person to serve as a proxy...Ordinarily the appointment of the proxy should be made by the godparent in writing or before two witnesses, in order that there be certainty as to who is the responsible person.

 Baptism Request Form