Baptism

Congratulations and God’s blessing on all involved with the Baptism of your child. This is a very exciting time when parents, grandparents, Godparents and other relatives and friends come together to celebrate the beautiful Sacrament of Baptism of our newest member of our Catholic faith. The Baptism of your child is a wonderful blessed occasion for your child, your family and your parish family. We look forward to assisting you so that this is as special a day as possible!

This is a wonderful gift for your child, salvation in Jesus Christ and membership in His Church. This is also an important decision on your part because as the parents, you are the first teachers of your child in the practice of the faith. This is why before you make the final decision, you yourselves will need to be active in your Christian faith and participating members of this Catholic community. We must teach what we believe and practice what we teach.

If you feel that you are ready to share your faith in word and action with your child, then complete this Baptism Preparation Form at least three months before anticipated date of birth to make arrangements for the seminar & a brief interview.  If you would like to request that a visiting priest baptize your child, and they are outside of the Diocese of Shreveport, they will need to submit a Letter of Suitability from their bishop.

The requirements for baptism here at St. John’s includes: participation in a pre-Baptism class.

Topics include:

  • “Sacrament of Baptism” +
  • “Role of Parents & Godparents” +
  • “Christian Parenting”

Seminar will include an explanation of the Rite of Baptism and tour of the Cathedral. Parents, we recommend that, if possible, you attend the class before the birth. Parents and Godparents are required to attend a seminar.

If you have any questions, please call Dotye in our Church Office, 318-221-5296, or email her.

Parents, Begin the Process Today

Step 1: complete and submit the Baptism Prep form
Step 2:  complete the Baptism Seminar Registration form / $20
Step 3: plan to attend Baptism Seminar

Contact Dotye Sanford here for special instructions during this time of pandemic.

Church Law Regarding Baptism in the Catholic Church

1. Infant Baptism: According to the laws of the universal Church, a minor child under the age of seven is considered an infant (Canon 97.1) as well as those who habitually lack the use of reason. (Canon 99).

2. For an infant to be licitly baptized, it is necessary that:
a. at least one of the parents consents to it (or the person that lawfully takes the parents place) and;
b. there is a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Church. for example: formation and continued education in the faith, and participation in the spiritual life of the church community, … (Canons 868-869)

[In the case of adoption baptism is to be postponed until after the adoption is complete and adoption papers/proofs can be procured.]

3. There should be one (1) Godparent for the person to be baptized who is not the father or mother of the one to be baptized. (Canons 873, 874.1)

4. IF there are to be two Godparents, they must be of the opposite sex (male and female). (Canon 873)

5. Qualifications of acceptable Godparent (who sponsors the child into the Catholic Church):
a. that he/she be designated by the parents of the person to be baptized; if this designation is lacking, the Pastor or Minister of the Sacrament may designate.
b. that he/she has an intention to carry out the duty;
c. that he/she be at least 16 years of age;
d. that he/she be a Roman Catholic of the Latin Rite (Eastern Rite Catholics are allowed);
e. that he/she has received the Sacrament of Confirmation;
f. that he/she has received the Sacrament of Holy Communion;
g. that he/she be a practicing Catholic leading a life of faith in harmony with the Church;
h. that, if married, he/she was married in the Church;
i. that he/she not be under a lawfully imposed or declared canonical penalty.

6. If there is only one Godparent (who must be Catholic) a “Christian Witness” (Non-Catholic) may also be chosen for the one to be baptized in accordance with the following:
a. A baptized person belonging to a non-Catholic ecclesial community ‘may be’ admitted as a “witness” to baptism (the formal title is Christian Witness, not “Godparent.)” (Canon 874.2)
b. This privilege applies only to a Non-Catholic belonging to an ecclesial community i.e. Mainline Protestant Church, Greek Orthodox, and other Churches with valid baptisms. A Catholic cannot be a Witness. A non-Christian cannot be a Witness.

7. If the Godparents are unable to attend the baptism, you may ask any Christian that you choose to stand in as “PROXY” for the Godparents. The names of the Godparents, not the proxy, will appear on the Baptism Certificate.

Parents should complete this Baptism Preparation Form at least three months before anticipated date of birth.  Parents & Godparents are required to attend a Baptism seminar. To register for the Cathedral Seminar, complete this Baptism Seminar Registration Form.

Baptism Preparation Form for Parents

Requirements for St. John’s Parishioners

Because of the sanctity of the sacrament of Baptism and assuming that the child will be raised in the practice of the faith, preparation is required.

For Parents

BEFORE THE BAPTISM OF YOUR CHILD:

1. Parents need to be registered and active parishioners for at least two months before attending a Baptism Seminar.

2. Parents are required to attend the Baptism Seminar at St. John’s, whether the child is to be baptized at another church or by another priest. They must attend the seminar at least one month before the Baptism (unless they have attended one within the past 24 months at St. John’s). A certificate of attendance is needed.

3. Parents select one or two Catholics in good standing with the Church and their parish church to serve as the child’s Godparent(s).
a. If you choose to have two Godparents/sponsors, one must be male and the other female.
b. Only a Catholic can be a Godparent sponsoring a child into the Catholic Church. As an exception, if the parents cannot designate a Catholic for this important role, one non-Catholic who is a baptized Christian can be a “Christian witness.” (Note: only the names of Godparents are included in the church’s official records.)

For All Sponsors / Godparents / Christian Witnesses

Role of Godparents

BEFORE THE BAPTISM:

1. Sponsors / Godparents must be practicing Catholics and in good standing.  Therefore, we need the following:

a. A copy of his/her Baptism Certificate with all notations of sacraments received (Confirmation and marriage).
b. A letter from their pastor stating that he/she is in good standing and active in his/her parish church.
c. Written proof stating he/she has been to a Baptism Seminar (usually a certificate issued by the church where the seminar took place). If possible attend the Baptism Seminar with the parents.

3. “Christian Witnesses” need to provide the following:
a. Proof of Baptism.
b. Letter from their pastor stating they are in good standing and active in their church.
c. Proof of Baptism Seminar (usually a certificate issued by the church where the seminar took place).

NOTE: If you are going to have your child baptized at another church, you will need all of the above items, plus a letter from your pastor giving permission to have your baby baptized in another parish.

THESE PAPERS NEED TO BE TURNED IN TO DEACON JOHN NO LESS THAN ONE MONTH BEFORE THE BAPTISM.

Requirements for Non-St. John’s Parishioners

FOR PARENTS COMING FROM ANOTHER CATHOLIC CHURCH
BEFORE THE BAPTISM OF YOUR CHILD AT ST. JOHN’S:

1. Parents need to provide the pastor of St. John’s (or his delegate) with the following:
a. Letter from their pastor stating the parents are active and in good standing with the church in which the pastor gives permission that the child  be baptized in another parish.
b. Written proof (usually a certificate) stating that the parents have been to a Baptism Seminar (usually at one’s own parish — you are welcome to attend the Baptism Seminar at St. John’s).
c. If you have asked your pastor to perform the baptism, your pastor must make the request (in writing) to baptize your child at St. John’s.

FOR ALL SPONSORS / GODPARENTS BEFORE THE BAPTISM:
1. Sponsors / Godparents must be practicing Catholics and in good standing. Therefore we need the following:
a. Copies of his/her Baptism Certificate with notation of First Communion and Confirmation.
b. A letter from his/her pastor stating that he/she is in good standing and active in their parish church.
c. Written proof stating he/she has been to a Baptism Seminar.

2. Sponsors / Godparents are required to attend the Baptism Seminar.

3. Only a Catholic can be a Godparent sponsoring a child into the Catholic Church. As an exception, if the parents cannot designate a Catholic for this important role, one non-Catholic who is a baptized Christian can be a “Christian witness.” (Note: only the names of Godparents are included in the church’s official records.).

Christian witnesses need to provide the following:

a. Proof of Baptism.
b. Letter from his/her pastor stating they are in good standing and active in their church.
c. Proof of Baptism Seminar.

THESE PAPERS NEED TO BE SUBMITTED TO DEACON JOHN AT ST. JOHN’S NO LATER THAN ONE MONTH BEFORE THE BAPTISM.

Cathedral Policy (please read ALL the policies)

Before your child can be baptized, we need the following:
1. Parents need to be registered and active parishioners for at least two months before attending a Baptism Seminar.

2. For parents coming from another Catholic church two letters are needed from their pastor that must include the following:
a. statement that the parents (or the Catholic parent) are active and in good standing with the church.
b. permission is given to have the child baptized in another parish.

3. Godparents: Godparents sponsor the one being baptized in the Church.  Thus, it is the assumption of the Church (as expressed in church law) that both Godparents are practicing Catholics, confirmed, and are in good standing in the Church. Therefore we need the following:

a. A Baptismal certificate (re-issued within 6 months) of the Godparent, issued from the church of his/her baptism, which indicates all sacraments received by the prospective Godparent.

b. A letter from his/her pastor stating he/she is in good standing with the Church and an active member of his/her parish/church.

4. Proof of Baptism Seminar
a. Written proof/certificate stating that the parents have been to a Baptism Seminar (Catholic Parish) prior to the Baptism.
b. Written proof/certificate stating that the Godparents have been to a Baptism Seminar (Catholic Parish) prior to the Baptism.

Please submit all the required paperwork to Deacon John one month before the baptism.

Cathedral of St. John Berchmans
Attn: Deacon John
939 Jordan St.
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101

Baptism Sponsorship Certification – Printable

Baptism Seminars

The Sacrament of Baptism allows families the opportunity to delve into the sacrament in a special way – through the Baptism Seminar. Come and join other parents and Godparents as we learn more about the history of the sacrament, the rite, our roles as parents and Godparents and as Christian parents.

Things Parents Can Do When Expecting:

Parents should complete this Baptism Preparation Form at least three months before anticipated date of birth to make arrangements for the seminar.  To register for the Seminar, complete this Seminar Registration Form – $20 fee covers all seminar materials.

Parents & Godparents are required to attend a seminar.

Godparents

For All Sponsors / Godparents Before the Baptism:

  1. Sponsors / Godparents must be practicing Catholics and in good standing with the Church, who have been confirmed and are at least sixteen (16) years of age. Therefore we need the following:
    1. Copies of his/her Baptism Certificate with notation of First Communion, Confirmation and Marriage, if applicable.
    2. A completed, signed Baptism sponsorship certification form which includes signature from your pastor.
    3. Written proof stating he/she has attended a Baptism Seminar.

2. Sponsors / Godparents are required to attend the Baptism Seminar.

3. Only a Catholic can sponsor a person into the Catholic Church.
There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.

As an exception to this rule and ancient practice, the second person may be a baptized, non-Catholic who would be recognized as a “Christian witness.” (Note: only the names of Godparents are included in the church’s official records.).

Christian witnesses need to provide the following:
  a. Proof of Baptism.
  b. Letter/certification form from his/her pastor stating they are in good standing and active in their church.
  c. Proof of attendance at a Baptism Seminar.

These papers need to be submitted to St. John’s no later than one month before the baptism.

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