Prior to the baptism of a child according to 'The Code of Canon Law 851', "the parents of an infant who is to be baptized and likewise those who are to undertake the office of sponsor are to be properly instructed in the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations which are attached to it; personally or through others the pastor is to see to it that the parents are properly formed by pastoral directions and by common prayer, gather several families together and where possible visiting them."
Currently St. Joan of Arc offers this instruction once every other month. The class is typically offered offered the second saturday of even months. At least one of the parents and God-parents are required to attend class. If the godparents live out of state or are unable to attend the class offered at St. Joan of Arc, documentation will be required from their parish stating they have attended a similar instruction. The baptism can not be scheduled until the parents and sponsors/God-parents have received proper instruction and all supporting documentation has been received in the parish office. If you have attended a baptism preparation class within the last two years and can provide a certificate stating so, the class will not be required.
PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for the class. If no one has pre-registered for the class, there is the potential that the class would be cancelled. Parents are encouraged to attend the class before or soon after the birth of the child. This class is available to anyone who may need to attend a preparation class as a sponsor for another church and a certificate will be given to you at the conclusion of the series. The classes will meet from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM in Orleans Hall. Please contact Anne Smith in the Parish Office to register for the classes.
Requirements/information for baptism:
- The request for baptism must come from the parent or legal guardian. There are circumstances where a grandparent may request baptism with the child’s parents' consent. The grandparent must live near the child and must be willing to take on the responsibility of the child’s spiritual development in the Catholic Faith.
- The parents/guardians must accept the responsibility for teaching their child in the Catholic Faith through word and action.
- Baptism should not be seen as merely a naming ceremony. It is the child’s entrance into the Church, the Body of Christ, and so much more.
- Baptisms are regularly held each Sunday after the 9:00 AM Mass, except during Holy Week. Other times may be arranged to accommodate special needs.
- Canon Law requires parents and godparents to have pre-baptismal preparation.
- Children over the age of seven are no longer considered infants because they have reached the age of reason and therefore require preparation for all three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist. The preparation normally begins in September and culminates at the Easter Vigil.
Requirements for Godparents:
- Only one sponsor (godparent) is required although it is customary that there be two. If there are two, there may be only one man and one woman. Two men or two women are not permitted (CCL 873).
- Godparents must have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, be practicing Catholics, and be 16 years of age or older (CCL 874).
- Godparents must be registered in a parish and we will need a letter from their parish stating that they are registered before the baptism can take place.
- Godparents need not be married separately or to each other, but if one or both are married, they must be in a valid Catholic marriage. If unmarried, they should not be "living in sin" outside the sacrament of Marriage.
- The role of Christian Witness allows baptized, practicing, non-Catholic Christians to take part in the Catholic baptismal ceremony. This is to recognize both sides of the family in a mixed-religion marriage and to allow them to participate in the ceremony.
- In the case of a Christian Witness, there must also be a Catholic godparent.
- Catholics are not eligible to be Christian witnesses.