Congratulations on taking the first step to having your child baptized!
We are full of joy that you desire to have your Child baptized at Saint Clement. For your benefit, we have put together the most common questions Parents ask us about the process. However, if you want to have your Child baptized with the least amount of expectations from us, you may be disappointed.
Our baptism preparation process isn’t meant to complicate your life or make you jump through hoops to have your Child baptized. Instead, our process is in place to prepare you for one of the greatest adventures and responsibilities that you will have as a Parent. Parents are to be the primary teachers of their Children regarding God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our simple process is here to help you become the best of teachers. When you are practicing your faith, your Child will learn best from your example! We are here to help you to become great and holy Parents!
1. Do I have to be a registered parishioner to have my Child baptized at Saint Clement? No! Saint Clement does not insist that Parents be registered parishioners at our beloved parish. However, in order to have your Child baptized at Saint Clement, the Parents of the Child will need to complete our parish Baptism Preparation Process which consists of the following steps: an Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon and a Baptismal Preparation Class.
2. If the Parents are not validly married in the Catholic Church, can the Child be baptized? Yes! There is nothing that prevents a Child born to Parents not validly married in the Catholic Church from being baptized. Saint Clement welcomes with open arms your decision to baptize your Child in the Catholic faith. As such, you may also want to discuss having your marriage convalidated (recognized) by the Church during your Initial
3. If the Parents are not married at all, can the Child still be baptized?
Yes! Nothing prevents a Child born to Parents who are not married from being baptized within the Catholic Church, provided that the Parents of the Child are properly disposed and have been appropriately prepared; understand the responsibilities that come with having the Child baptized and are willing to fulfill the commitment undertaken to raise their Child in the rich principles of the Catholic faith. Thus, seeking to have your Child baptized in the Catholic Church is also a great opportunity to foster the proper order of your own relationship with Jesus and his Church.
4. When should the Parents contact Saint Clement regarding Baptism?
Saint Clement always invites Parents to schedule their Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon as early as possible during the pregnancy. Participating in the Baptism Preparation Process during the pregnancy allows for adequate time to discern whether the Sacrament of Baptism should (or should not) be celebrated once your Child is born. Please know that the cornerstone of the Baptism Preparation Process is the concept that there exists a basis of hope that the Child will be raised in the Catholic faith.
5. What happens if my Child is seven years old or older? Is there a special requirement for the Baptism of older children?
Yes! Children who have reached the age of the use of reason (7 years or older) need to be instructed in the Catholic faith, since it is they who to a certain extent will be requesting the Sacrament of Baptism. Please contact Cathy Rosales at extension # 306 to register your Child for the next class.
6. Are both Parents required to attend an Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon?
Yes! The purpose of the Initial Interview is not simply to register for the Baptism of your Child, but also to determine the Parents’ intentions on raising the Child in the Catholic faith, and to discuss the Parents’ own relationship with the Catholic Church, and ultimately, to answer any remaining questions or concerns.
7. Are both Parents required to attend the Baptismal Preparation Class before their Child can be baptized?
Yes! Parents are to be properly prepared to live out the commitment they are making (i.e., to raise their Child in the Catholic faith) and to be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with a greater understanding as to its impact, beauty, significance and nature. Therefore, Parents by necessity are required to attend a Baptismal Preparation Class before their Child can be baptized. Unless there is a dire emergency or grave cause, this obligation cannot otherwise be exempted.
8. How are mixed marriages of Parents (i.e., between a Catholic and a non-Catholic) treated during the Baptism Preparation Process?
It is the Catholic Parent who is obligated to fulfill the promise of raising their Child in the Catholic faith within our Church. The non-Catholic spouse needs to be fully informed on what is involved in having their Child baptized, and is encouraged to participate fully in the preparations.
9. Is the Godfather and/or Godmother required to attend a Baptismal Preparation Class before baptizing their Godchild?
Yes! The role of the Godfather and/or Godmother (as the sponsor of a baptized Child) is extremely important in the Christian formation of the Child. However, contrary to popular belief, the Church does not ask the Parents to provide both a Godfather and a Godmother. In actual fact, the Church requires only ONE SPONSOR, be it a Godfather or Godmother, in so far as possible. Yet, the Church allows there to be a maximum of two sponsors (one man and one woman). In any case, every sponsor (either Godfather or Godmother or both) must be prepared to fulfill their function in the Baptismal Rite, and to help the Parents in their duty to raise the Child in the practice of the Catholic faith. Consequently, Saint Clement requires every sponsor to attend a Baptismal Preparation Class, either at our parish or at their own parish.
10. I am to be the Godparent (sponsor) at a Baptism in another parish. Can I attend a Baptismal Preparation Class at Saint Clement?
Yes! Saint Clement parishioners who have been registered for at least (6) six months can attend our Baptismal Preparation Class. Afterwards, they will receive a “Certificate of Completion” good for up to 6 months of use at outside parishes. Such persons need simply sign up for the next class.
11. Is it necessary for the Parents, the Godfather and/or the Godmother to repeat the Baptismal Preparation Class when another Child is to be baptized?
Yes! And No! It depends on the situation. Usually, everyone will need to repeat the class. However, each case will require a determination be made at the time of the Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon. In such cases, the Parents will need to attend an Initial Interview prior to scheduling the Baptism.
12. Can a baptized Christian, yet not a Catholic, be a Godparent?
No, only a practicing Catholic who meets the requirements below can be a Godparent (sponsor). The details of who can or cannot be a Godparent is an important topic. If you have any questions, please bring them up at your Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon. Requirements to be a Godparent :Must be at least 18 yrs. old; have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling their role to assist the Parents in helping the baptized Child lead a Christian life; and have celebrated their First Communion, Confirmation, and not be subject to a canonical penalty.
13. If the chosen Godparents (sponsors) are not validly married in the Catholic Church, can they still be the Child’s Godparents (sponsors)?
Firstly, a Godparent does not need to be a married person. A Godparent can be a single chaste adult. However, if a chosen Godparent IS a married person (whether to another Catholic or to a non-Catholic) then they must be validly married by the Catholic Church, because the Church asks that Godparents to be a living witness of the Catholic faith for the good of both the Parents and the Child.
14. Can a Child be baptized privately?
No! The Sacraments are by their very nature public and communal. Indeed, the very name of the Catholic Church is derived from the Greek adjective katholikos meaning “universal” and also has roots in the term “all-embracing”, thus, so too are the Sacraments. The Sacraments are never private actions. When one is baptized, truly the whole Church celebrates and rejoices. Consequently, the full communal nature of the Sacrament of Baptism should be reflected by the manner in which it is celebrated. Saint Clement does not allow private Baptisms except under emergency situations.
15. Can a Priest or Deacon of the family baptize our Child at Saint Clement?
Yes! However, this requires coordinating with us to “reserve” the church space. Please contact the Parish Office before beginning any other part of the Baptism Preparation Process. If you have already completed this process at your local parish, and you can provide documentation proving such, then at that point please have the family Priest or Deacon fill out the appropriate paperwork and have it sent to the Saint Clement Parish Office. Upon the approval of your documents, the Baptismal Coordinator will contact you (either by phone or email) to schedule a date in our calendar for the Sacrament of Baptism for your Child. Please make sure to follow up with the Baptism Coordinator for the appropriate paperwork and/or more information.
16. May a Child with a mental or physical disability be baptized?
YES! Disability, of itself, is never a reason for deferring the Sacrament of Baptism. Any concerns or questions can be discussed in greater detail at your Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon.
17. How much does it cost to baptize my Child?
The Church does not charge for celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism. Families are encouraged on the day of the Baptism to give a donation in the name of their Child. Your generous goodwill offering will directly support a variety of our Outreach Ministries to persons most in need.
18. What documents do I need to bring to the Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon?
It is very important that the Parish Office be able to properly identify and verify certain information to correctly prepare the Certificate of Baptism. We ask that you bring the following documentation:
- The original Birth Certificate of the Child (if the Child has been born).
- Parents who are not registered parishioners of St. Clement will need to provide a “Permission Letter” from the parish where they do attend Mass.
- Godparent(s) who are not registered parishioners of St. Clement will need to provide a “Sponsor Letter” from the parish where they do attend Mass.
- Single Godparent(s) (Sponsors) must provide a copy of their Confirmation Certificate.
- Married Sponsors must provide a copy of their Church Marriage Certificate, NOT their civil marriage license.
Once you have all the documents needed, please call the Parish Office to make an appointment for your Initial Interview with the Priest or Deacon.
19. What changes have taken place since the Pandamic started:
In the Past:
If we missed any of your questions or concerns, please bring them up during your Initial Interview.
We look forward to meeting with you soon!
If you have additional questions, please contact Ana Monson, Baptism Coordinator, at 813-752-8251, ext. 321
or press HERE to send a message
PARENTS PLEASE NOTE:
You must register for Baptism ONE MONTH before the date of the Baptism.
Your child will NOT be added to the Baptism list until ALL your documentation have been turned in.