Sacrament of Infant Baptism
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ~Acts 2:38
Baptism – “Incorporated into Christ’s Body, Sent on Christ’s Mission” (USCCB)
The sacraments celebrated by the Church are signs of grace that make a deeper reality present to us. One reality we encounter through the sacraments is Christ’s presence in the Church community, his body. This recognition of Christ’s presence in the community should lead to a stronger awareness of being sent on mission to engage in love-inspired action in the world.
As Pope Benedict XVI notes in Deus Caritas Est, the celebration of the sacraments and the ministry of love are “inseparable.” Love in action, he says, is “an indispensible expression” of the Church’s being.
- Baptism makes us “members of one another”
- Baptism reveals the equality and dignity of each member of the community
- Baptism requires us to reject sin and reassess our values, decisions and lifestyles
- In Baptism, we profess our commitment to the Church’s beliefs, values and vision
- Baptism invites us to a vocation of holiness and the practice of charity
- Baptism incorporates us into the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the world
- Baptism leads us to imitate Christ’s example
- Baptism makes us disciples to the world
- Baptism calls us to live in the world, seeking the Kingdom in our daily lives
- The baptized are to live as lights in the darkness
Parents are required to attend class for the first two children, but not if they have three or more children. The Baptism Class is held the first Thursday of every month, 7 pm in the Fireside Room of the Rectory. Pre-registration for class is required; please call the Parish Office at (616) 459-4662 to schedule your class. Godparents may attend, but it is not required. Classes are taught by Father Jim and Deacon Dean. Parents fill out the Baptism Registration Form at the Baptism Class or at the Parish Office.
Baptisms are usually held on the second Sunday of the month, following the 11 am Mass at approximately 12:15 pm. Baptisms during Mass can only be scheduled for the 9 am Mass. Arrangements for special times or dates are made directly with Father Jim or Deacon Dean and should only be scheduled under unique circumstances. Baptisms are not typically held during Lent unless an emergency Baptism is needed. Information for the Baptism is gathered at the Baptism Class. Baptisms being held by families who are not registered parishioners must be approved by Father Jim and be accompanied by a letter from their pastor stating they are baptized members in good standing and giving Father Jim or the Deacon delegation privileges. There is no fee for Baptisms.
Every child about to be baptized must have a godparent unless he or she is in danger of death. The minimum requirement is one Catholic godparent, but usually when infants are baptized, they get two, one of each gender.
Canon law permits only one godparent of each gender – a godmother and godfather. For a child being baptized, these godparents:
- Cannot be the parents of the one being baptized
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Must be practicing Catholics who go to Sunday Mass every week, are not invalidly married, and live a good Christian life
- Must be already confirmed
If you cannot find two practicing Catholics to be the godfather and godmother, then one can be Catholic and the other a Christian witness, if that person is a baptized and practicing Protestant Christian in good standing.
Please note that being a godparent means actively being a good Catholic Christian witness and example, a role model, and a supporter by regularly and faithfully practicing the religion. This godparent must also be a good spiritual example for your child and one who will raise your child in the Catholic faith if in the event you are unable to do so.
Here at Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, all those who have some significant reason to request Baptism shall be allowed to present a child for Baptism at the regularly scheduled Baptism times and in accordance with all the other practices of the parish, if they present the following:
- Reason for desiring the Baptism at Saint Thomas (e.g. family connections, etc.)
- Signed notification of having received some formal Baptismal preparation at a Catholic Parish, campus chapel, military base chapel, or the like.
- Written permission from the pastor or associate pastor of the parent(s) of the child to celebrate the sacrament in his name.
- Written statement from the pastor or associate pastor of the parents of the child that the parent(s) is/are a Catholic in good standing in the church and parish, is practicing the Faith and registered in that parish.