Baptism

Baptisms Guidelines

For children and infants age six and under, baptisms take place after parents have attended a Baptism preparation class. Children age seven and above need to prepare for full initiation into the church at the Easter vigil and need to take part in the Rite of Christian initiation for Children. Familes of these children will be asked to participate in a program of preparation.

In order to have a child baptized at the Parish of Saint Vincent de Paul:

  1. The parents of the child must be registered and participating members of the this Parish for at least three months or registered members of a Catholic church with the written permission of the pastor of that church for the baptism to take place at the parish of St. Vincent. 
  2. The parents of the child must attend a baptism preparation class. Godparents are strongly encouraged to attend. Call the parish office to register at 704-554-7088. If the class was taken within two years, the requirement is waived. 

Qualifications for Baptism Sponsors

Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fullfill faithfully the obligatiosn inherent in it.

  • There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
  • To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:
    • be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
    • have completed the sixteenth year of age, unlesss the diocesan bishop has established another age, or 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;
    • not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.
    •  A baptized person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

If the person you are considering as a Catholic sponsor/Godparent is not married according to the laws and practices of the Catholic Church, or is cohabitating (living together without marriage), you will need to consider someone else. Catholics who are divorced and remarried, and whose previous marriage has not been annulled by a Decree of Invalidity are considered members of the Church living in an irregular (or invalid) marriage and as such, are not eligible to be a Godparent.

The Catholic sponsor/Godparent must be be an active, registered member of a Catholic Parish. For those who are not parishioners at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, the Godparent must obtain a "Sponsor Certificate" from his/her parish indicating that he/she is a Catholic in good standing. The certificate should be given to the Parish office two weeks prior to the Baptism.

A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community can be a witness of the baptism but only together with a Catholic godparent. A non-baptized person, cannot serve as a witness because the duties of a godparent to assist the parents of the child in passing on the Christian faith.

In a situation where an appointed Catholic Godparent is unable to attend the Baptism ceremony, a Catholic proxy can be appointed to stand in at the ceremony. The Catholic proxy must meet all the same requirements as the Catholic godparent. Ordinarily the appointment of the proxy should be made by the Godparent in writting or before two witnesses; the real godparent mus give a mandate directly or indirectly (through the agency of other but with his or her consent) to the proxy.

Scheduling a Baptism

if the parents have attended the Baptism preparation class, they will complete the form at the class. If the parents are not registered members of the parish they will need a letter of permission from their pastor before scheduling a baptism date.

Baptisms in English are normally celebrated on Saturdays at 11 am or Sundays at 12:45 pm.Baptisms in Spanish are normally at 10 am on Saturdays or 2:45 pm on Sundays.

 

The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.

At baptism, the presider prays over the water:

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)

Freed from Sin

Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth. Adult baptisms take place at the Easter Vigil through the restored Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic church. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”

The Catechism teaches:
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1279).

Baptismal Symbols

  • Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
  • Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
  • White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.

In case of emergency, any person can baptize provided that he/she have the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he/she pour water on the candidate's head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1284).