“The marvelous gift of God’s life is shared with the youngest members of our community through Infant Baptism. While all are called to participate fully in sacramental celebrations of the Church community, with as much awareness, devotion and understanding as possible, the Baptism of infants is a sign of the unconditional love that God bestows on His beloved children in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. The child baptized sacramentally receives God’s life and becomes an adopted child of God, a member of Christ’s body (the Church) and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Celebrating the Faith – Sacramental Guidelines - Diocese of Brooklyn #1.4)
AGE OF BAPTISM: Parents are encouraged to baptize their infant as soon as possible after the child is born. It is necessary that at least ONE (1) of the parents, or the person who takes the place of the parent, give consent to the Baptism. For this reason, we require that arrangements for the Baptism of an infant be made by one of the parents or legal guardian only. (Sorry, Grandparents can not arrange the Baptism of their grandchild.) Children who have reached the “age of discernment” (about age 7) are no longer considered infants; and therefore must be treated following the rules for the R.C.I.A. (adapted for Children).
PROCEDURE FOR INFANT BAPTISMS:
- 1) Parents are asked to contact the Rectory to register for Infant Baptism. They will be asked to complete an INFANT BAPTISM REGISTRATION FORM and (If necessary) a PARISH CENSUS FORM. They will also be asked to supply the CHILD’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE and the Godparent's CONFIRMATION CERTIFICATE.
- 2) The PARENTS must attend ONE (1) Baptism Class before the date of the Baptism will be arranged. Parents can attend the class at either St. Camillus or St. Virgilius Churches.
CHANGES ON THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE: The information on the Baptism Certificate must appear EXACTLY as it does on the Birth Certificate of the Child (according to Diocesan norms). Therefore changes to the Birth Certificate – such as correct spelling of names; dates; inclusion of father’s name – should be done before the Child is baptized, if possible. Please Note: If a parent’s name does NOT appear on the Birth Certificate, it will not appear on the Baptism Certificate. Changes to the Birth
Certificate of a Child which are made after the Baptism may require Diocesan approval to be made to the Baptism Certificate.
CHURCH OF BAPTISM: Baptisms will be celebrated in both St. Camillus and St. Virgilius Churches; and parents may choose to celebrate their child’s Baptism in either Church. Baptisms are to be celebrated in the parish church where the parents attend Mass on Sundays. Sometimes, it may be allowed to “cross” parish lines for a special reason, such as a special relationship with the parish or one of the parish priests; family living within St. Camillus – St. Virgilius; or the like. Parents who do not live in St. Camillus-St. Virgilius parish should call Father Richard. With the prior permission of St. Camillus-St. Virgilius, the parents will be required to obtain written permission of the pastor of the parish where they attend Sunday Mass. The parents will also be required to fulfill the Baptism Preparation Requirements of the parish where they live and present a letter that they have completed the Baptism Program in their own parish. (They will not attend the Baptism Class at St. Camillus-St. Virgilius.)
SPECIAL REQUESTS: Parents may request a priest friend of the family to celebrate the Baptism of their infant. Parents still must follow the procedure as outlined above. They should discuss their request at the time of the interview.
PRIVATE BAPTISMS: Because of the shortage of priests and the fact that Baptism is a celebration of the parish community, we can not honor requests for private Baptisms. In extreme circumstances, we may be able to adjust the schedule of Baptisms. Please Note: ALL Baptisms on SUNDAYS are celebrated at Mass (No celebrations outside of Mass). On SATURDAYS, Baptisms are celebrated at 1:00 P.M. (without Mass) on the 3rd Saturday of the month at SV or the 4th Saturday of the month at SC.
BAPTISM IN DANGER OF DEATH: In case of emergency, anyone can baptize. If possible, the Rectory – or the Hospital Chaplain -- should be called. Please notify the Rectory if a child has been baptized in the Hospital so that the Rite of Welcome (Ceremonies Supplied) may be celebrated.
BAPTISM OF SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN: Once a child enters the FIRST GRADE, they should be enrolled in a Catholic School or Religious Education Program. The Baptism of children in school will not take place until the child is regularly receiving Religious instructions. Children who are NOT eight years old will be baptized following the procedure for infants. Older children will follow the RCIA.
GODPARENTS: Each child must have ONE (1) GODPARENT – either male or female. If there are TWO Godparents, one must be male and one female. More than TWO (2) Godparents are NOT permitted. In some cultures, several Godparents are present at the Baptism. Only TWO (2) Godparents, however, are recognized and their names are included in the Baptism Register. To be a Godparent, the following requirements must be met:
- Be designated by the parents
- Have the intention of fulfilling the role of Godparent
- Be at least 16 years of age (Pastor can accept someone younger for special reasons)
- Be a Roman Catholic who has been baptized; confirmed and received First Communion (Proof of Confirmation may be required)
- Lead a life in harmony with the Catholic Faith and the role of a Godparent
- Not be the father or mother of the child (this also includes adoptive parents).
- Please Note: Brothers and sisters can be Godparents if they fulfill the other requirements.
- Not be bound by any canonical penalty
Please Note: It is not required that Godparents be married.
CIVIL RESPONSIBILITIES OF GODPARENTS: In the United States, Godparents are not recognized as having a legal responsibility for a godchild in case of the death of the parents. Parents are urged to receive legal advice to insure for the care of your child(ren).
NON CATHOLICS AS GODPARENTS: A baptized non-Catholic Christian (e.g. Lutheran, Baptist, and Protestant) may not be a Godparent. However, if there is one (1) Roman Catholic Godparent, a baptized non-Catholic Christian may serve as a “Christian Witness” for Baptism. Those who are NOT BAPTIZED (e.g. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, people with no religion) may NEVER serve as a Godparent or Christian Witness.
PROXY: In the event that a Godparent cannot be present for the Baptism ceremony, another person may represent the Godparent as “proxy”. Please speak with the Pastor to arrange proxy for a Godparent.
CHANGE OF GODPARENTS: It is the general policy of the Diocese of Brooklyn not to authorize the change of Godparents, after the Baptism has taken place.
BAPTISM OF ADOPTED CHILDREN: Please speak with the Pastor.
POSTPONEMENT OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM: In order to baptize a child, there must be a ‘founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion. When hope is completely lacking, Baptism is to be postponed.” For example: A family with older children (7 years of age & older) who are not enrolled in a Catholic School or Religious Education Program or who have not received the Sacraments of Initiation. The following are NOT reasons for postponement of Baptism:
Marriage of parents, Mass attendance of parents, and use of Sunday Collection envelopes by family. The decision to postpone (delay) a Baptism is the responsibility of the PASTOR who will meet with the PARENTS individually.
BAPTISM CERTIFICATES: St. Camillus-St. Virgilius parish will provide Baptism Certificates within one month of the Baptism. If there are any errors on the certificate, the parents MUST call the Rectory immediately so that the corrections may be made and a new certificate issued.
PICTURES: Pictures and Videos (without lights) are permitted. Parents, Godparents and Child may NOT take pictures. People who are going to take pictures are asked to come to the Church 10 minutes before the start of the Baptism so that they can be given instructions. They are not permitted to speak with the parents, Godparents, or Child during the Baptism ceremony. Please NO professional photographers.
BAPTISM OFFERING: An envelope will be provided for your free will offering. If you wish to write a check, please write the check to “ST. CAMILLUS-ST. VIRGILIUS CHURCH”.
OTHER CHILDREN AT BAPTISM: The celebration of Baptism is a teachable moment for other children, brothers and sisters, relatives of the infant. They are most welcome. However, some children may become agitated. It is suggested that there be a responsible adult who will be available to take care of these children. The parents and godparents will be involved; they can not leave the Church. If you have any questions, please call the Rectory: 718-634-8229