Preparing for the Sacrament of Baptism
For children under the age of 7 years
This is a joyous time for your family as you take this step in the faith life of your child and we encourage parents to baptize children within the first weeks of life. If your child is seven years of age or older, there is a different procedure so please contact the parish office for more information.
Parents, please read the following information carefully as it is meant to help you prepare for the sacred celebration of your child’s Baptism. Once you have read all of the information, you may fill out the online registration form on left side of the page. Only parents or legal guardians may request the sacrament of Baptism for their child and may complete the online registration form. We cannot baptize the child without the parent’s knowledge and participation.
Please note: The process of baptizing a child at St. Mary Magdalene has changed and parents who have baptized a child here in recent years may notice that some requirements and procedures are now different. If you have any questions or concerns with these changes or would like to understand why these changes have occurred, please contact the parish office at your convenience.
How do I register at the parish?
Filling out a registration form with the parish is free and done in person at the parish office. The process only takes about 15 minutes.
Our Parish office hours are:
|Monday||9:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 5:00 pm|
|Tuesday||9:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 7:00 pm (when Religious Education is in session)|
|Wednesday||9:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 7:00 pm (when Religious Education is in session)|
|Thursday||9:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 5:00 pm|
|Friday||9:00 am – Noon|
|Sunday||The office is open after the morning Masses only.|
The office might be closed for holidays so please call or check the current bulletin for up-to-date information
What class do I need to take?
Both parents are required to attend a Parent Baptism Preparation class.
If both parents have attended a Baptism preparation course at any Catholic Church in the past (3) three years, you may be excused from taking a class for this Baptism if you can provide a letter stating the date that you completed the class from the parish where the class was taken. The letter may be scanned and emailed, faxed or dropped off at the parish office. We can make a copy for our records here and you may keep the original.
At St. Mary Magdalene, Godparents are not required to attend the preparation course. However, we do strongly encourage them to attend, as they play a significant role in the faith life of your child.
How do I choose Godparents (Sponsors)?
The role of Godparent is vitally important in the life of the newly baptized. It is a role that is very misunderstood in our society and it is not just an honorary title. The singular role of the Godparent is to be a support to the parents and serve as good examples of living the Catholic way of life.
Some examples of this support are:
- Aiding the parents in teaching the Catholic faith
- Celebrating important and sacred moments in the life of the child, such as the date of their Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation
- Providing an additional example of daily Catholic Christian living
It is essential, therefore, to take all of this into consideration when choosing a Godparent. To help you make this decision, here are a few requirements that all Godparents must meet, in accord with Canon 872-875 of the Code of Canon Law:
- A Godparent must be a fully initiated (meaning: has received all sacraments) Roman Catholic and actively participating in his/her faith and leading a life in harmony with Church teaching for the person’s state in life
- Only one Godparent is required but must be not less than sixteen (16) years of age
- They cannot be the parents of the child
- If two (2) Godparents are chosen, there must be one (1) male and one (1) female
- They cannot be bound by any canonical penalty. An example is that if they are married, they need to have been married in the Catholic Church or had a dispensation to get married outside the Catholic Church. If single, they also cannot be cohabitating.
Upon registration for Baptism, the parents will be given an Godparent Affidavit form (PDF) to distribute to their Godparents. If the Godparents are not active, registered parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene, the form needs to be filled out by their parish representative stating that they meet the above requirements and may serve as a Godparent. The form needs to be sealed with a parish seal and the original needs to be mailed or dropped off at the parish office. Godparents who are St. Mary Magdalene parishioners will be provided a form to complete.
Along with one Catholic Godparent, parents may ask a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian to serve as a witness; this person will be listed on the parish records as a witness to the Baptism. A non-Catholic Christian witness is a person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community and has been baptized in the Trinitarian formula – In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
What if I need a proxy?
In the event that a Godparent cannot be present for the Baptism, a person may stand in the place of the Godparent as a proxy. This situation needs to be brought to the attention of the Coordinator of Baptism Preparation upon registration or as soon as possible. Ideally, the Godparent should make the appointment of the proxy in writing so that there is certainty about who is the responsible person. The custom of leaving the appointment of the proxy to the parent of the infant or to the baptizing priest tends to make the sponsorship doubtful and is not ideal but each situation is unique and we do allow the parent to appoint a proxy, if necessary. The proxy needs to follow the same guidelines for a Godparent candidate and be able to provide a Godparent Affidavit form letter. In the Church record of Baptism, the names of both the Godparent and the proxy will be entered but the proxy will not be listed on the Baptism certificate.
What is required?
All documents need to be in the child’s file in order to schedule a baptism.
- A copy of the child’s original birth certificate
- A completed Godparent Affidavit for each Godparent
- If needed, a completed non-Catholic Christian Witness statement
- If needed, a letter for the proxy stating that they are in good standing with the Church or a completed Godparent Affidavit PDF