Baptism unites us to God in Jesus Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and incorporates us into his mystical body, the church. It cleanses us of the original sin of Adam and Eve and its eternal effects by which all their descendants (except for the Blessed Virgin Mary) are separated from God from their conception.
Baptism also takes away all personal sins and their temporal, damaging effects in us (temporal punishment). At baptism, we become children of God in oneness with Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten son, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Parents or legal guardians can request baptism on behalf of their child up to the age of reason (about seven years of age). The parents or guardians would then receive brief instruction about the nature of the sacrament and the responsibilities they accept in having a child baptized.
A person above the age of reason must receive catechesis for baptism, normally through at least one year of parish catechesis, or through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) or for children of catechetical age (RCIC).
Sponsors & Qualifications
- Only one sponsor is required for baptism.
- If, two sponsors are chosen one must be male and the other female.
- The second sponsor may be a Christian Witness (i.e., a non-Catholic Christian may fulfill this role).
- In the event that neither the candidate, nor the parents or guardians select a sponsor, pastors may appoint a member of the parish community to fill the role of sponsor.
- Is to be designated by the candidate, by the parents or guardians, or the pastor.
- Have the qualifications and intention of performing the role of sponsor.
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Be a fully initiated Catholic (received baptism, confirmation and Eucharist).
- Lead a life in harmony with the faith and role of a sponsor (i.e., be a member of a parish, attend Mass on Sundays and holy days, not be in an irregular marriage, etc.).
- Not be bound by a canonical penalty.
- Not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.
- Our diocese continues the practice of requiring proof of eligibility for sponsorship (in accord with the qualifications above) from the parish in which the sponsor is registered.