Baptism of Children – Information and Guidelines

Baptism of Children Information and Guidelines for celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism at St. Francis/St. Hyacinth

To arrange for the baptism of your child, please call the parish office at 315-252-7593. The office staff will record the information to forward to our pastoral minister regarding your ch
ild . Please be sure to have the names of the godfather and godmother and their parish information available when you call.

After you speak with our office staff, you will receive a call from one of our pastoral ministers who will meet with you at the St. Francis/St. Hyacinth rectory located at 299 Clark St. He/she will give you information about the baptism and, if needed, information about the Parish of St. Francis/St. Hyacinth.

St. Francis/St. Hyacinth celebrates baptisms at 2:00 PM Saturday or Sunday, once a month.

PARENTS
Ordinarily the parents of the child to be baptized are members of our parish. If you are not and live in the area, you are invited to register and become active in our parish family. If you live elsewhere and wish to have your child baptized here, all we need is a letter of permission from your home parish.

If one of the parents is not Catholic, he or she is welcome to participate in the baptismal ceremony as much as they wish. For other Christians, this often means full participation; for non-baptized persons, they may choose not to do such things as make the sign of the cross or certainly not to renew baptismal promises. We have a large Church and you may invite family members and friends to attend Mass and stay for the baptism which follows.

GODPARENTS
You will need to select at least one qualified godparent or sponsor. There are normally two godparents, one man and one woman.

Godparents need to be at least 16 years of age, confirmed and, if currently married, married according to the laws of the Church. Godparents need to obtain a “sponsor’s certificate” from the church they are currently attending.

It is possible to have one “Catholic Sponsor” and one “Christian Witness.” A Christian witness is a person who is baptized in another Christian denomination. We commonly refer to both as godparents.

A close friend or family member who is not baptized does not qualify to be a godparent. This applies to a Catholic who is not confirmed or one who is currently in a marriage not recognized by the Catholic Church.

DONATIONS
There is no fee for a baptism. If you would like to make a donation to the Church, place it in an envelope with the child’s name on it and give it to the presider the day of the baptism.

BAPTISMAL CEREMONY
The ceremony is a joyous occasion in which children are initiated into the Catholic faith. It begins with a welcoming rite in which the parents publicly name their child and, along with the priest or deacon, trace the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. This is followed by a reading from scripture, a renunciation of sin and profession of faith by the parents and godparents, the blessing of the water and the actual baptism. The child is anointed with chrism and then clothed in a white garment. Someone from the family (such as parent or godparent) lights the child’s candle from the Easter candle.

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS

Sign of the Cross:
The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians because Jesus Christ died on the cross. Parents and godparents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the child belongs to Christ, who now offers His help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings in life.

Water:
This is for cleansing and is a sign that our sins are washed away. Baptism cleanses us of original sin with which we are all born and, in adults, of every sin committed prior to baptism. Water is also necessary for life and so is a sign, too, that the life of a risen Christ is ours.

Oils:
Oil of baptism is olive oil rubbed on the breast of the child to strengthen and prepare him/her for the fight ahead. Oil of chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam and is rubbed on the crown of the head. It is a sign of sealing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith which you make on behalf of your child at baptism will later be confirmed personally by your child in the Sacrament of Confirmation when oil of chrism will be used again.

White Garment:
This garment is a relic of the new clothes worn by Christians after baptism. It is a sign of innocence and the new life of resurrection.

Candles:
These symbolize Christ – the Light of the World. The baptismal candle is lit from the paschal candle which stands near the altar at Easter as a sign of the risen Christ. The baptismal candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life; and its flame symbolizes the flame of faith which will burn through the life of your child.

CERTIFICATION OF BAPTISM

Your child’s baptism will be recorded in the parish Baptismal Register. In the years ahead, proof of baptism may be obtained in the form of a certificate issued on the basis of this registration. Your child’s Confirmation, Marriage or Ordination will also be noted alongside this entry in the register.

*Throughout the text above, “child” has been used for ease in reading. However, you may have more than one child baptized at a time.