Engraved back of wooden altar chair

Baptism





Welcome - The Sacrament of Baptism

Baptism is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church; frequently called the "first sacrament" as it is the gateway to the rest of the sacraments and opens the door to the life of faith. The following information, along with the videos below should answer many of the questions you may have about Baptism. When you have reviewed the information, you can send your request, to have your child baptized, to St Mary’s Parish:
stmarysbr@archtoronto.org. Please include your name, address and contact information.

Copy of a Baptism Certificate

If you are looking for a copy of yours or your child’s Baptismal certificate e-mail stmarysbr@archtoronto.org and include the name of the Baptized, date of birth, date of Baptism (the year if you do not have the exact date), mother’s name and father’s name.




Baptism - What is Baptism

We share your family’s joy at the birth of your child and we are delighted that you are asking for your child to be initiated into our Catholic faith through the Sacrament of Baptism.

The Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary and indispensable teachers of their children in both the matter and ways of faith. It is by your own faith and practice that you provide an essential key for your child’s faith-filled entrance into the Body of Christ.
 
Parents requesting Baptism for their children are invited to recognize that they are part of a faith community entrusted with the handing on of faith. The "faith" in question is not just a vague sense of the mystery of life’s meaning or a dim notion of a Supreme Being; rather is it quite specifically a faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ, the supreme revelation of God! The challenge of Catholic parents is to lead children to a true and real relationship with God amid the People of God, for their lifetime.

Infant Baptism

How long after the birth of a child should the Baptism take place?
As soon as possible after the birth: Parents are obliged to see to it that infants are baptized within the first weeks after birth. As soon as possible after the birth or even before it, parents are to go to the parish to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared for it properly (Code of Canon Law 867.1). An infant in danger of death is to be baptized without any delay (Code of Canon Law 867.2).

May a child be baptized if only one parent requests it?
The consent of at least one of the parents, or the person who lawfully takes their place, is required for the baptism of a child. The parent requesting Baptism must be Catholic.

Can our child be baptized if we're not married?
Not married in the Church? Your child's Baptism and your marriage are two separate issues. Your marital status may be discussed during your Baptism interview to encourage you to get married (or validate your marriage in the Church) if this is appropriate. However, as long as you are committed to raising your child as a Catholic, he/she may celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism and be welcomed into the Catholic Church.

Can our child be baptized in a parish if we do not live within the parish boundaries?
Baptism, like all of the sacraments, is a celebration of a living relationship with God and with the local believing community, the parish. The sacraments are celebrations of our Church and, as such, are normally  celebrated in the parish where the family resides or is registered and usually worships. If you are outside the boundaries and not registered at the parish, we encourage you to approach the parish that is nearest to you.




Baptism - Who can be a Godparent for Baptism

 

GODPARENTS FOR A CATHOLIC BAPTISM

Godparents assist the parents in bringing up their child to profess the faith and by giving good example. Parents are the principal educators of their children in the way of faith; godparents assist them, while guaranteeing that same faith. Ideally, Godparents should be people who are people you spend time with and trust very deeply, people you know well and recognize as faithful Catholics. 

Who can be a godparent:

 Baptized Catholic
 Over the age of 16
 Received the Sacrament of Confirmation
 Attends Sunday Mass weekly
 Married in the Catholic Church (if married)
 If there are 2 godparents, one must be male and the other female
 Cannot be one of the parent’s of the child

Christian Witness

One of the godparents can be a Christian witness. They must be a baptized Christian and practising their faith. They must be the opposite sex from the godparent.

How many godparents should there be?

Church law only requires you to have one godparent; however, it has been tradition to have two. Can the same godparents have responsibility for more than one child in the same family? Yes, as long as they take seriously their responsibility and intention to help the children grow in faith.

What gender should the godparent be?

If you choose only one godparent, you are free to choose a male or a female. However, if you wish to have two godparents, there must be one male and one female.

Can a non-Catholic serve as a godparent?

A baptized, non-Catholic may serve as an “official witness” to the baptism, only if there is a proper Catholic sponsor who fully meets all requirements of a godparent. The non-Catholic who is a witness should be an active and participating member of his/her church community.

What is the difference between a godparent and a witness?

Canon Law describes a witness as “A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community.” A godparent is a confirmed, practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church.

Can someone serve as godparent by proxy (stand-in) if the godparent is unable to participate in the baptism ceremony?

If a godparent cannot attend the baptism ceremony, a proxy can stand in the place of the missing godparent. The name of that person will be entered as “proxy” in the Sacramental Record Book, along with the name of the missing godparent.




Baptism - What we need from parents for Baptism

There is documentation required in order to proceed with a Baptism. Once the Baptism inquiry form is completed and the parents are accepted into a Baptism Preparation Course they will need to provide some  documentation.

1) Long form of their child’s Birth certificate. The final Baptismal
record becomes a legal document and therefore it must correspond
with the Birth certificate.
2) One of the parents must provide their own Baptismal certificate to
verify their own Catholic Baptism
3) Parish Registration Form, if they are not already registered as a
parishioner. This can be found on the website.

Does our child have to be baptized in order to attend a Catholic school?
It is important to check with the School Board that has jurisdiction where your child will attend school. The trustees of each Board interpret the admission requirements in their own way. Some School Boards require proof of a parent's Catholic Baptism, especially if the child has not been baptized. This establishes their eligibility to direct their taxes to the Catholic Board. This is a government, not a Church stipulation. If the child is not baptized, the parents are usually encouraged to meet with the Pastor of their parish (or his delegate) to discuss this issue.

My child’s class is preparing for First Communion and my child is not Baptized. Can he/she be baptized so they can participate with the class?
Baptism precedes the reception of all other Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Your child will need to be baptized first. The child needs to be prepared for the Sacrament according to their age, if they are no longer an infant and the parents will be doing the parental preparation program. Your child will be able to receive First Communion after they have been baptized.

My child’s class is preparing for First Communion and my child is not Baptized. Neither parent is Catholic. Can my child be baptized so they can participate with the class?
Your child can be baptized after one of the parent’s becomes a Baptized Catholic. The parent(s) will need to take the Rite of Catholic Initiation (RCIA) which can take up to two years.




Baptism - Baptismal requests for Elementary and High School Children


Some parents for whatever reason, have not had their child Baptize and the child is now an elementary or high school student. If that is the case for your child and you would like to have your child Baptized please follow the process in the Welcome segment.

Does our child have to be baptized in order to attend a Catholic school?
It is important to check with the School Board that has jurisdiction where your child will attend school. The trustees of each Board interpret the admission requirements in their own way. Some School Boards require proof of a parent's Catholic Baptism, especially if the child has not been baptized. This establishes their eligibility to direct their taxes to the Catholic Board. This is a government, not a Church stipulation. If the child is not baptized, the parents are usually encouraged to meet with the Pastor of their parish (or his delegate) to discuss this issue.

My child’s class is preparing for First Communion and my child is not Baptized. Can he/she be baptized so they can participate with the class?
Baptism precedes the reception of all other Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Your child will need to be baptized first. The child needs to be prepared for the Sacrament according to their age, if they are no longer an infant and the parents will be doing the parental preparation program. Your child will be able to receive First Communion after they have been baptized.

My child’s class is preparing for First Communion and my child is not Baptized. Neither parent is Catholic. Can my child be baptized so they can participate with the class?
Your child can be baptized after one of the parent’s becomes a Baptized Catholic. The parent(s) will need to take the Rite of Catholic Initiation (RCIA) which can take up to two years.

My child’s class is preparing for Confirmation but my child did not receive First Communion. Will they need to receive that First Communion first?
Your child can proceed with preparation for Confirmation and they will receive their First Communion at their Confirmation celebration.




Confirmation - Who is a Parishioner

Who is a Parishioner

Each Catholic parish has geographical boundaries. The Pastor of the parish is responsible for the souls within that boundary, whether they attend Mass or not. You are automatically a parishioner if you live within the boundaries. That is the parish where you can request the Sacraments – Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Funeral. 

You can also be a parishioner if you are outside of the boundaries but you have made St Mary’s the parish where you come for Mass every Sunday. You are a parishioner by participation.

What does it mean to ‘register’ at a Parish?
When you complete a Registration Form, provided by the parish office, you are registered as a Parishioner.

Why should I register as a Parishioner?
The process of registration provides the parish with your contact information. It also allows the administration staff to provide an annual tax receipt of your charitable donations.

Do I just register myself or my whole family?
If your whole family in your household participates in Mass with you, it is a good idea to add all their names. If your spouse is not Catholic, or does not attend Mass, and if some of your children no longer attend Mass, you may decide not to include them in your registration.

How do I register as a Parishioner?
You can e-mail the Parish office at stmarysbr@archtoronto.org and a staff member will forward you a Registration form, which you can then e-mail back.






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