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Sacrament of Baptism

St. Gertrude’s friars and Baptism team are eager to assist our parish families in planning your child’s Baptism. We provide Baptisms for registered parishioners of St. Gertrude.

Our Baptisms take place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays of each month at 1:45 PM, following our 12:30 PM Mass. We have a mandatory Baptism class for all first time parents, as well as parents who have not attended a Baptism class within the past five years. The one-time class, provided by our priests and a lay Baptism team, takes place on the 1st Sunday of each month, also at 1:45 PM and lasts approximately one hour. (Occasionally, the schedule changes due to holidays.)

Please call our secretary (561-5954, ext. 2101) to find out more about our Baptism process, sign up for the class, and schedule your child’s Baptism.

A Little Catechism on Godparents/Christian Witnesses for the Sacrament of Baptism

Often we run into misunderstandings concerning who is permitted to act as a Godparent for the Sacrament of Baptism. The term “Godparent” only applies to baptized Catholics. Protestants cannot act as Godparents, but as a “Christian Witness” to the baptism. There must be at least one Catholic Godparent for a person to be baptized in the Catholic Faith. In the case of emergency baptism, this is waived. There may be one Godfather, one Godmother, or one of each [Canon Law 873]. In infant baptism, the Godparent(s) together with the parents assist the baptized to lead the Christian life, primarily by example, in raising a child in the Catholic faith. [Canon Law 872].

Requirements to be a Catholic Godparent:

To be accepted to undertake the duty of a Catholic Godparent, it is necessary:

  • That one be designated by the parents of the child, and have
    the aptitude and intention of carrying out this duty.
  • That one be at least 16 years of age.
  • That one is a baptized Catholic, has received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, and actively practices the Catholic Faith by regularly attending Sunday Mass and receiving the other sacraments, as necessary.
  • That the designated Godparent is a registered and active member of a Catholic parish. If the designated Godparent is not a member of St. Gertrude’s, his/her pastor must sign a document verifying the qualifications of the Godparents. The request for a sponsor certificate is directed to the pastor of the parish in which he/she is registered.
  • That one is not the father or mother of the child to be baptized.

Christian Witness: A baptized Non Catholic Christian who actively practices his/her faith, may stand with the Catholic Godparent as a Christian witness [Canons 873-874]. Baptized Catholics cannot be designated a Christian Witness. Catholics must meet the above Requirements to be a Godparent or should not be asked to perform this important role in the life of a child.

Problems Encountered: The baptism of your child is a very important event in his/her life. It is the first of the three sacraments that initiate a child into the Catholic Church. Parents need to be good practicing Catholics themselves, and find good, practicing Catholics for Godparents. Sadly, this task can be very difficult in today’s world. As a result, parents sometimes look to those who cannot meet the basic standard for Godparents. A Godparent must meet the above requirements, without exception.

Parents should know and understand the proper role of Godparent or Christian Witness before asking someone to fulfill this important role. This will eliminate the embarrassment and confusion of rescinding a request to family members or friends. If you are unsure about whether one is appropriate for this role, please speak to a parish priest for clarification before you ask someone to be a Catholic witness or Godparent. The parish priests are always available to help you to make decisions about Godparents and Christian witnesses. Godparents and Christian witnesses serve a special role in the life of the baptized person and should be trustworthy believers of the faith as they help the Godchild attain salvation.

Godparent by Proxy: If the designated Godparent cannot be physically present at the baptism, the Godparent along with the parents may appoint another person to stand in as a proxy, but the appointment must be made in such a way that there is certainty as to the person who takes the responsibility as Godparent. In the sacramental record of the baptism, the names of both the Godparent and the proxy should be entered.

Exception for Eastern Rite non-Catholics: A practicing member of one of the Orthodox Churches may be admitted for just reason as a Godparent, together with a Catholic Godparent, at the baptism of a Catholic infant. It must be assured that Catholic upbringing of the child is provided for and that the faithful of an Eastern Church has fulfilled the requirements to be a godparent.