Our Catholic community joins you in thanking God for the gift of new life. As you prepare to have your child baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, it is highly recommended that you follow these guidelines with regards to this sacrament:
Baptism makes us sharers in the life of God and members of the Church, the Body of Christ. Through Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and become members of the Church. The Church’s sacraments are actions of the whole Church. Through the celebration of the sacraments, the Church is built up, its faith strengthened, and the hand of salvation is extended to faithful believers.
Sacraments are not a form of magic. Sacraments are a partnership of God’s grace and human intention and action. We must learn to cooperate with God’s grace in order for the Sacraments to be fully effective in our lives.
Basic Guidelines and Information for Baptism
Parents are the first teachers of the Faith and have the primary responsibility to hand on the faith to their children (Code of Canon Law 226 §2). Parents are responsible for bringing their child to the Sacrament of Baptism as soon as possible after the birth (Code of Canon Law 867 - §1).
In asking to have their child baptized, parents take on the responsibility to raise their child in a Catholic environment. Among other things, this means:
- Participating in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
- Praying as a family on a regular basis.
- Teaching your child about Jesus and about the Catholic faith.
In order that a child be baptized, it is necessary that:
- Parents consent to the baptism, or someone legally representing them.
- There is reasonable hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith. Parents should be practicing Catholics and willing to bring their children up in the Faith, teaching them morals, values, Catholic prayers and beliefs. If the parents admit they are not practicing their faith as they should, the Church is more than happy to assist the parents so that a well-founded hope is established that the baptized child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith.
What are the guidelines/prerequisites to become a Godparent?
- A godparent will “be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function” (Code of Canon Law, 874 - §1.1°).
- “have completed the sixteenth year of age…” (Code of Canon Law 874 - §1.2°).
- “Those selected to be Godparents should be mature enough to undertake this responsibility; have themselves received the three Sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist; and be members of the Catholic Church, canonically free to carry out this duty. They should be Catholics who also demonstrate their belief by regular Sunday Mass attendance. The pastor is to be the judge of this.” (The Statutes of the Archdiocese of Agana 1996. Part II. Ch. 8 – Baptism. Section 91; Code of Canon Law 874 - §1.3°).
- “not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared; (Code of Canon Law 874 - §1.4°).
- “not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized. (Code of Canon Law 874 - §1.5°).
- Must be one (1) man and/or one (1) woman. There cannot be two men or two women, or three or more people. (Code of Canon Law 873)
- Godparents should be faithful individuals who are ready to accept the responsibility of being a part of a godchild’s life for the rest of their lives.
- If you have received the Sacrament of Matrimony, then the marriage should have taken place in a Catholic Church, officiated by a Catholic Priest or Deacon. If you are married civilly, or are cohabiting (“common law”), then you have given up your privilege of becoming a Godparent. Please see the pastor.
- Godparents not living on Guam must obtain a Godparent permission form or letter from his/her respective parish where they regularly attend Sunday Mass.
- A proxy must also obtain a Godparent’s Permission Form from their respective parish where they regularly attend Sunday Mass. A proxy is one who represents the Godparent who is unable to attend the Baptism.
- Parents and Godparents must attend Baptism Instruction administered by the parish.
It is important to understand that Godparents make a profession of faith for the person to be baptized if necessary, and provide spiritual guardianship for the baptized person throughout their lives.
The most serious responsibility a godparent has is to make sure that the baptized person is given proper instruction in the faith, particularly when the parents neglect this duty or are otherwise unable to do so. If the parents die or become unable to teach their child the faith, it is the responsibility of the godparent to ensure that the child learns the faith. Godparents should always provide a living example of the Catholic faith to the baptized person. In addition to knowing the faith, they must also live the faith. The witness of their lives should provide inspiration to the baptized person. Godparents should follow the commands of the Church, believe its teachings, and strive to build it up. Godparents are not merely “gift-givers”. Giving gifts may be done at the will of the Godparents, but it is not a requirement of the role. Godparents should be chosen based on their spiritual maturity and holiness, not their financial situation. Godparents have serious duties and obligations, so parents should carefully choose them to ensure they will comply.
What is the process for having my child baptized at Santa Barbara Church?
Parents are asked to complete a Baptism Information Form and present a certified birth certificate. Godparent(s) should give their permission form(s) to the parents of the child. When all documents have been completed, parents should visit the parish office to schedule an appointment to meet with a priest or deacon and then schedule a date for the baptism and instruction.
Baptisms are normally celebrated on Sundays at 9:30AM.