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How To Plan A Baptism

How To Plan Your Baby's Baptism

Dec 01, 2010 By Nicholas Cole

Baptism is an important milestone in your baby’s spiritual life. And when the planning of your child’s baptism begins, there are, naturally, questions that come up. Maybe this is your first child, and you've never had to prepare for a baby's baptism before. You might be asking yourself: how do I go about this? Who do I talk to, and at which church? Can I pick anyone I want to be the godparents?

We would like to help answer these questions for our readers!

1. Choose a Church

The first important step in planning your baby’s baptism is choosing where your child will be baptized. For those who already belong to a parish, this question is answered. If you are not yet registered at a parish, you’ll want to select one in your area and schedule your child’s baptism. Most likely you will need to attend some preparation classes at your church. This will help you understand how the service will go and also give you a deeper understanding of what the sacrament of Baptism really is.

You'll need to register at a parish to have your little one baptized.

2. Set a Date

Check with your parish to see what dates are available to have your baby baptized, keeping in mind that preparation classes may take some time to complete, if this is your first child. Baptisms generally take place on Saturdays or Sundays, either during Mass or in the late morning or afternoon after the last Mass. Depending on the number of children being baptized, a baptismal ceremony can last twenty to forty minutes.

3. Ask the Godparents

Choosing godparents is another important step in planning a baptism. Although it would be wonderful to offer this honor to your best friend, if he or she doesn’t share your religious beliefs or does not meet the qualifications set by the Catholic Church, they shouldn’t be your baby’s godparent. It’s vital to choose godparents who are practicing Catholics, since their role is to help your child live a devout Christian life. Generally, at least one godparent must be a confirmed Catholic in good standing and an active member of a parish.

The baptismal ceremony can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how many baptisms are taking place.

4. Buy a Gown

Now the most important decisions have been made, you can move on to the fun stuff, such as choosing your baby’s baptismal outfit. Although tradition states that the godmother buys the outfit and the godfather buys the cake, it is perfectly acceptable for you to get your baby’s baptismal gown yourself. This way you can find a gown that you would love to see passed on. Also, consider getting a more casual outfit for after the ceremony. You'll want the heirloom gown to be kept clean!

Any questions?

If you have specific questions about your child's baptism, or any questions regarding the requirements for baptism, contact your priest or your local parish office. While the sacrament is the same in any Catholic church, certain requirements and preparations may vary from one parish to another.

Are you a new parent ready to baptize your first child? Or maybe you'd like a few tips about the best way to prepare for this sacrament!

This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2010 © The Catholic Company

 

Comments

Zoraida Martinez says
Aug 17 2018 11:00PM
I was never baptized but was raised with a Catholic upbringing. My grandparents and my mom made sure i knew the word of God and strongly raised me accordingly. I want to baptize my baby of 4 months. Is this possible?
Hello Zoraida. Congratulations on your little one!
I know that if you wish you have your child baptized as a Catholic, you need to be committed to raising the child in the Catholic faith, having them receive the other sacraments, bringing the child to Mass on Sundays, etc. That being said, you would probably want to contact the closest Catholic parish and 1) ask your above question to one of the parish priests, and 2) participate in some RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) yourself so that you can grow in your general knowledge of the faith. Bring to prayer also the fact that maybe this could be a very powerful and beautiful time to receive the Sacrament of Baptism yourself?...
God bless!
Sandra says
Aug 17 2018 1:03AM
What if any is there something as parents that we need to do for the god parents, such as take them to dinner, but them a gift.
Hello Sandra! There are no specific guidelines for this, but taking them out to dinner or buying a gift would be very thoughtful of you! We have some beautiful godparent gifts on our website: https://www.catholiccompany.com/
Cynthia Figueroa says
Jun 5 2018 6:29PM
So I want to baptize my daughter but her God father is not baptized is that okay or dose he have to attend classes ?
Hi Cythnia! I think this will answer your question:

Basic Guidelines and Information for Infant Baptism (Code of Canon Law, cc. 867-868; Catechism of the Catholic Church 1251)

"A person may have one or two godparents...if two are chosen, they must be male and female...In order for someone to be eligible as a godparent they must be...a confirmed Roman Catholic, who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist, is leading a life in harmony with the Catholic Faith (including Marriage) and will be a good role model for the one being baptized...A baptized person who belongs to another Christian community may be admitted as a “Christian witness” (not a godparent) provided that there is at least one Roman Catholic godparent who fulfills the above criteria."

Only 1 Catholic godparent is required. So if the child's female sponsor is Catholic that is sufficient as far as godparents go. In that case, a male could stand in as a "Christian witness" if he is baptized in another Christian denomination. I can't tell from your post if the person you wanted to choose as a Godfather isn't a baptized Catholic or isn't baptized period. I think you could see why the above explanation makes sense though; if you are baptizing your child as a Catholic then the godparent(s)/Christian witness need to be strong religious role models for the child.
Johnson Mathew says
May 13 2018 1:03PM
Hi, me and my wife both are from different states in India. If i want to baptise my new born baby it should be in my parish where all my sacrements are recorded? Priest of my parish told me that i should baptised my baby in my parish only and on other side my wife want he should be baptised in their parish so as per catholic law which is corrrect pls guide me. Thanks
Hi Johnson, the best person to answer this question would be your parish priest. You can find the relevant canon law here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PC.HTM. It seems from this that your child should be baptized at the parish of the territory where your family is currently living.
Brian F White says
Mar 6 2018 4:55PM
Does it cost money to have this service done have two babies so looking into this. Also I'm invited to my friend's daughter's baptism and I'm just wondering what the regular or normal gift is
Hello Brian - Talk to your parish about the details of planning a baptism. Also, ere are some resources for beautiful Baptismal gifts: https://www.catholiccompany.com/baptism-gifts-c20/
Roshelle Barcarse says
Jan 20 2018 11:36AM
Hi both my partner and I wanted to get my 1 year old daughter baptized. Is it necessary to have both parents have their communion done or one parent is fine ? We are both catholic but only one of us has our communion done.
Talk to your parish priest; he will be able to instruct you on this and guide you personally!
Brittnee Kemp says
Dec 27 2017 7:56PM
Hello,

My daughter will be getting baptized in a few weeks. Besides the white outfit, is there anything else that I need to buy for the ceremony ? Like Candles, etc ?

Thank you
Hi Brittnee, it is best to contact your parish office with this question. A baptismal candle is part of the rite of baptism, but it may be that the church will provide this for you. There is nothing else that is required as part of the rite. You may want to have a few gifts and mementoes for your daughter to keep from her baptism. In addition to the baptismal candle, you could also collect the holy water from her baptism in a holy water bottle. You can purchase a glass one and have it engraved with the date of her baptism. You can find great designs for this from The Catholic Company here: https://www.catholiccompany.com/holy-water-bottles-c5631/.
Luke says
Sep 10 2017 9:49PM
I am a practicing baptist, but my wife is catholic. I would like to honor her believes as she honors mine. Is this a problem? We attend a baptist church, however i am very open to the Catholic ritual.
Hi Luke, it is wonderful to hear that you are respectful and open to Catholic teaching and liturgy. It is very important for your wife, who is a Catholic, to attend Mass every Sunday (or Saturday night), as Sundays are a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics. If you have further questions about this, please do not hesitate to meet with a Catholic priest.
Megna says
May 19 2017 11:08AM
Do we need to get a special dress for the baby as a heirloom? I am thinking more practically and at the level of comfort - white colour onesie.
Hi Megna, that is a decision that is totally up to you. Keep in mind, though, that religious heirlooms, for example those tied to the reception of the sacraments of family members, can be an important way to show the importance of faith, reverence for the sacrament, and to pass that faith and reverence on to future generations.
Tiffany says
Apr 30 2016 6:07PM
Do the parents need to have had made their communion and confirmation before they can have baptism for the child
Hi Tiffany, here is what Canon Law states: "For the licit baptism of an infant it is necessary that: 1) the parents or at least one of them or the person who lawfully takes their place gives consent; 2) there be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such a hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be put off according to the prescriptions of particular law and the parents are to be informed of the reason." So, if the parents have not received Communion and Confirmation, it may be that #2 is lacking and baptism could reasonably be delayed until the parents have received the Sacraments. However, this is not absolute and will ultimately be up to the discretion of the priest depending on the particulars of the family's situation. You best bet is to talk to the priest who would be doing the baptism.
Analiz says
Mar 1 2016 9:50PM
I been choosen to be the godmother of my niece and im wondering about the requirments of being a godparent . Do i have to have completed my first communin steps
Berto says
Feb 6 2016 12:18AM
Why do the younger the better aged babies be baptized to wash there souls? Aren't the babies born not knowing what sin is??
catherine says
Apr 9 2015 7:58PM
I need to get my 10 and 6 yrs old autistic sons to get baptized without going to catechism or RCIA. Is this possible in any catholic church in Los Angeles or Orange County, California? I need help as soon as possible. Thank you.
Hi Catherine, since you have a special needs case, the best thing to do is to contact your nearest catholic parish and ask them about your situation. I'm sure they will be able to work with you. God bless!
Great post. I am going throhgh many of these issues as well..
Andy says
Nov 10 2014 2:20PM
why do you call it baptism if you don't even baptize them? The Greek term used in the text is Baptisto which means to emerse.
Hi Andy, actually the Greek word 'baptizo' also means 'to wash'. Besides, it's not the definition of the word that determines what baptism is, but rather the practice recognized and performed by the Church. Baptism is a sacramental washing of the soul. As with all the Sacraments, what makes a baptism a baptism is the valid use of a particular form and matter. In the case of baptism, it is the Trinitarian formula and water. Water can be full immersion (the most prevalent historically), pouring, or aspersion, as long as the water flows down (water cannot merely touch the person). The age one receives baptism does not matter; babies can have their souls washed clean. In fact, the younger a person is when their soul is washed clean, the better. This is why Catholics and Orthodox have always baptized infants.
angelisha says
Nov 4 2014 8:31PM
My daughter will be 3yr soon and my husband wants to get her baptised, but in mexico. Is she still young enough to go through with it?
Hi Angelisha, anyone at any age can and should be baptized if they are not already. The location of the baptism is not as important as having your child baptized as soon as possible.
eunice says
Oct 28 2014 2:25PM
Hello, I have a 3 and 10month old that I am planning to baptize, my question is what are the requirements to baptize a child, is it only confirmation that they need to have? Or also first communion? For my son we have the godparents chooses out, the godmother is baptized and has her confirmation done, the godfather on the other hand does not, he is only baptized. How do I go about this?
Hi Eunice, baptism is always the first Sacrament to be received. Your child cannot receive First Communion or Confirmation without being baptized. You can choose one or two godparents (must be male and female if you choose two) and both need to have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The person who is not Confirmed can be a witness, but not a godparent. Hope this helps! Further questions can be answered by your parish priest.
Marta Redding says
Sep 22 2014 9:01PM
Can I have two of my cousins that are

Both males baptist my daughter? I know that

They are always going to be there for her.
Hi Marta, you should have your baby baptized by a Catholic priest if you are Catholic. The person who baptizes does not necessarily need to have an ongoing relationship with the child, that is the special role of godparents. Baptizing in the wrong way by someone unfamiliar with the Sacrament will result in an invalid baptism. Also only one person does the baptism, not two. God Bless!
Elizabeth leon says
Aug 7 2014 1:12AM
I want to baptize my daughter I don't have big family I really keep to myself and the people in my life are only 3 mom and brother's and I want would like if both of my brothers could baptize my daughter is it possible? they are really only people I trust and know they will be there for my daughter as they where for me.
Hi Elizabeth, it is not possible for two people to baptize one person. And if you are Catholic, it is better to have a priest baptize your daughter. Anyone other than a priest should baptize only in cases of emergency. Baptism is being baptized into the Church, it is the first Sacrament of Initiation into the Catholic Church, this is why you should have it done by a priest.
mariah munoz says
Jun 26 2014 2:39AM
I have a two month old son and I plan on baptizing him when he turns one. What are the required papers I need to do so?
Hi Mariah,

Congratulations on the birth of your son! Contact the parish office or a priest at your local parish to find out the requirements for infant Baptism and to schedule a date for the Baptism. Many parishes also have information on their websites on who to contact about receiving the sacraments.

God bless,
Mary
tara says
May 23 2014 6:52AM
I have a 4 month old daughter that I would like to get baptized. Her father is not baptized and we are currently not married. can she still get done??
Hi Tara, for a child to be baptized it is normally required that the parents consent, or at least one of them, and that there is reasonable hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic Faith. If these conditions are met then you should be able to have your child baptized. God bless.
Jammie Coston says
Mar 18 2014 5:47PM
I was reading this and a lot of the questions asked were ones I had. After calling every catholic church within 15 miles of my house, I'd like to write down what I was told. Most churches will baptize a child until the age of 8. Parents and godparents go to a pre-baptismal class (you can be a single parent and you don't have to be catholic to baptize your child). Usually the class is free but there is a suggested donation for the baptism. Godparents are not required to be a couple or even know each other but at least one of them must be confirmed in the church (or if married have a catholic church marriage certificate). The other person will be called a christian witness if they don't meet the requirements of godparent. Godmother usually buys the child's outfit and throws the party or reception if you plan to have one. I'm still trying to find out info about the candle and who's responsibility it is to obtain that.
Thanks for your comments, Jammie. Parishes usually provide a simple candle at the baptism, but you can also bring your own. Check out a few of our baptismal candles here.

God bless,
Mary
Alison says
Feb 8 2014 11:02PM
Hello, my son is 3 months old and has had a roller coaster of a life. Spending 41 days in the NICU, having meckels diverticulum with surgery to place an ostomy and now heading to the PICU for his second surgery. I know God has given us all strength in this journey and has given my son such strength I want nothing more than for Him to be baptized. However, I do not attend church. I believe full heartedly in Christ and want my son to have a better connection with him than I. Can my son be baptized if I'm not a member of the local church? Can I be baptized with him?
Hello Alison, It is so wonderful that you are feeling God's presence in your life. He is always with us. You may have your child baptized if you are not yet Catholic. You can read more here. As an adult, if you are interested in becoming Catholic you can contact your local parish with information on RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).
God Bless your Family.
Brook says
Jan 23 2014 5:23PM
My son is 6 months and looking to get him baptized, I have a lot of question

Is this an okay age?

Who do I invite?

Do I have an after celebration?

Do the god parents come?
Hello Brook,
You can definitely have your child baptized at 6 months. But, as with all questions regarding setting up the baptismal ceremony you must talk with your local parish priest. For information on the Baptism Party see our other blog post, your last questions can be answered there. Congratulations on your growing family and God Bless.
Paula says
Dec 14 2013 12:48AM
Hello my daughter is 4months old. I'm baptist and haven't been baptized. But, my daughters father/my boyfriend is catholic and is baptized. I really need help about how to do this baptism as I would really love my daughter to be catholic. But as a baptist I'm not sure of how to go from here. Is it bad to have my daughter baptized when I'm not even baptized. So many questions ate swimming around in my head. I'm reaching out to all my catholic friends for help. If you could please help me I would be so ever grateful. Thank you and God Bless.
Hello Paula, congratulations on having a new baby girl! You do not have to be baptized to bring your daughter into communion with the Catholic faith. However, as a parent it is important to know about Catholicism because you will be instructing your child in the faith.

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