A new baby? What joy! Older child? No problem—“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
NOTE: During this period of COVID-19 restrictions as mandated by the Provincial government, all baptism are private. Baptism preparation is also by private appointment, and the expectation of mass attendance suspended until the lifting of attendance restrictions in churches.
I want to have my baby/child baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. What is the first step?
The first step is to call the parish office at (905) 628-2880 to set up an appointment. During the interview we will discuss the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism, answer any questions you may have and make the necessary arrangements for the Baptism Preparation Classes and the Baptism itself. Arrangements are never to be made by phone, email, or by simply completing a form.
What is the oldest my child can be for “infant baptism”?
Children under the age of 7 can receive baptism in the same manner as infants. Children 7 to 12 are to receive age appropriate instruction prior to the rite. Those older than 12 are treated as adults and directed to the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program.
What is involved in Baptism Preparation?
When families desire to have their child welcomed into the faith community through the sacrament of Baptism, a period of preparation is required to familiarize them with the ceremony of Baptism as well as the commitment they are undertaking to raise their child in the Roman Catholic faith. In addition to participation in the Sunday Eucharist, parents are required to attend a Baptism Preparation session (information re upcoming sessions will be provided during your initial meeting). Godparents are also invited and encouraged to join the parents for this catechetical meeting.
When does Baptism take place?
Generally baptisms are scheduled once a month and are celebrated the second Sunday of the month at 1:00 p.m. Depending on circumstances and the number of baptisms in a given month, an additional service may be added at 2:30 p.m. may be scheduled. Baptisms are also done at our Masses depending on circumstances and the number of children being baptized in a given month. Please contact the parish office regarding the upcoming dates for baptisms. In the case of emergency, baptism should not be delayed. Please contact the parish office (905) 628-2880 if your child is gravely ill.
Can we have a private baptism?
The norm is to have a communal celebration. However, it is possible in any given month that your child is the only one to be baptized at the regularly offered service.
Can our baby have more than two godparents? Can we have two godfathers or godmothers instead of a godmother and a godfather?
The role of the godparents is purely a religious one. They are to accompany the child in the development of his/her faith. Canon 873 of the Code of Canon Law states that there will be only one godfather or only one godmother; or a godfather and a godmother. By specifying this, the analogy is made between natural parenthood and spiritual parenthood.
Who can be godparents?
Since the godparents’ role is to assist the parents in raising the child as a Catholic, their selection is a very important decision. Canon 874 states that to serve as a godfather or a godmother, the following conditions must be met:
- To have been chosen and to have the aptitudes and the intention to serve in the function of godparent.
- To be at least 16 years of age.
- To be a Catholic who has completed Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) and who lives a life in keeping with the faith.
- To be free from any canonical penalty imposed or declared.
- To be neither the father nor the mother of the baptized.
A baptized non-Catholic could serve with a Catholic godparent acting as a Christian witness to the baptism (meaning there would be one sponsor listed in the parish register and on the Baptism certificate; the other person would be listed as Christian witness)
Can members of all Christian denominations serve as a Christian witness along with a Catholic godparent (sponsor)?
No. Only members of certain denominations may serve as Christian witnesses to a Catholic baptism – e.g. Anglican, Lutheran, and others. These denominations believe in baptism with water accompanied by the Trinitarian formula (i.e. “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”). If you are unsure about your desired witness’ religious eligibility please contact the parish office. People who are not themselves Baptised may not act as Godparents or Christian Witnesses.
I am currently residing in another parish, but would like to have my baby baptized at St. Augustine’s Parish. What is required to make this happen?
We require a letter from your parish of residence stating: (a) you have attended a Baptism Preparation session (b) your pastor grants permission for your child to be baptized in this parish.
Are we allowed to take pictures during the baptism?
Yes, but they should be limited to one designated photographer per family during the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism and should be taken from the pews. Following the ceremony, you may take other pictures with the priest, family members, etc. Due to the sanctity of the altar and tabernacle and their immediate surroundings, we ask that you respect and reverence this area by not going into the sanctuary area to take pictures. Videos of the ceremony should also be limited and discreet.
Are there any fees to be paid?
No. However, a thank offering to the parish is appreciated, and a gratuity to the clergy is not obligatory, but customary (for discretionary spending on individuals in need, books and other educational materials, purchase and cleaning of personally owned church vestments, etc.).
Our aim is to provide the best possible understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism for families and godparents, and to help you make this a truly spiritual experience of God’s love. We wish you joy and blessings as you assume your new role as Christian guardians of the faith for your child.