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Baptism Q and A
Congratulations on the birth of your child! We at Christ the King Catholic Church are so pleased that you are desirous of having your baby Baptized.
The Baptism of your child provides an opportunity to examine your own Christian life and spirituality.
You are saying that you want to share your living Catholic Christian faith with your child; this is a serious commitment to raise your child within the community of believers and to educate them in the truths of the Catholic faith.
It is presumed that a central part of this commitment be weekly Mass attendance. If parents are not able to make this commitment at this time they should consider their motivation and reasons for baptizing their child.
How old should my infant child be to be Baptized?
Under ordinary circumstances, parents should see to the Baptism of their infants within the first few weeks/months: “As soon as possible after birth, even before it, they are to approach the parish to ask for the Sacrament for their child and to be themselves prepared for it” (Canon #876). The first consideration in determining the time is the welfare of the child. If the child is sickly, the Baptism should not be unduly delayed.
What if my child is no longer an infant?
As long as your child is less than seven years of age, the process and requirements are the same. Depending on the understanding and maturity of your child, this might be a wonderful opportunity for them to share in the preparation for the Sacrament.
If your child is seven or older, we will work with you to find the best pathway that leads your child to the Sacrament of Baptism – and the other Sacraments.
Parish registration and membership
Must you be a registered member of Christ the King Catholic Church in order to have your child Baptized here?
As mentioned above, it is presumed that you are practicing your faith and registered in the parish, if not now is the time.
If you are called to worship here at Christ the King and have a desire to be a part of our parish faith community then you are welcome to register with us. Once your family has been active and registered for three months, we will gladly move forward with the scheduling of the Baptism. (Please note that the easiest way to track attendance is through envelopes at Mass- the envelopes can be empty- it is about attendance not money.) Our new parishioner registrations take place once a month. See our bulletin for our next registration dates. We will register outside of the monthly dates in special circumstances.
There are always special cases, and for good reason we are happy to work with nonmembers to provide the Sacraments of the Church to their children. In the case of nonmembers, we ask for a letter of permission and delegation from the pastor of their home parish.
Baptismal preparation classes
When are Baptismal preparation classes for parents?
Our Baptism classes are scheduled once a month from 10:10am – 10:55am in McLoughlin Center A located directly behind the church building. Pre-registration for the class is not required however you must sign in so that we may verify attendance.
Do both parents have to attend a Baptismal preparation class?
Yes, both parents must attend a Baptism class if this is their first child being Baptized. If both parents have attended the Baptismal preparation class within the last three years, we would welcome their participation but do not require that they attend again. Godparents (and Christian Witnesses) also must attend. If the Godparents are from out of town, they can attend a class at their own parish. That parish can send a letter to Christ the King confirming that the Godparent did attend a Baptism class there.
What do we have to do in order to set the date for the celebration of Baptism?
- Show active participation for a minimum of 3 months.
- Parents and Godparents (Christian Witnesses) must attend a Baptismal Preparation Class.
- Godparents must complete a Godparent Eligibility form AND have it signed and sealed by his/her home parish.
- Parents must complete a Baptism request form.
- Once these items are completed, you may then contact Stu McEntegart at 876-5841 ext 2251 or email SMcEntegart@CTK-Tampa.org to move forward with scheduling. All paperwork must be completed before a date will be scheduled.
Requirements of parents…
Are there requirements of the parents who want to have their child Baptized?
Yes, at least one of the parents should be a practicing Catholic willing to commit to the task of rearing their child in the faith of the Church. Parents should accept that they are the first and foremost teachers of the faith. Parents must be registered and practicing at Christ the King for a minimum of three months.
What does it mean to be a “practicing Catholic”?
It means that not only do you hold true all that the Church teaches and proclaims, but that you are active in worship and liturgical celebrations of the Church. Oftentimes the Baptism of the child evangelizes the parents to participate fully in the practice of their Catholic faith. The birth of the child and the desire to have that child Baptized serves as a catalyst for the parents to return to the practice of the faith.
Requirements of godparents/sponsors…
What is the role of the godparents/sponsor?
Godparents need to be actively involved in the Catholic tradition because they serve as models and guides to the child and the parents. They, along with the priest and the parents, welcome the child to the community and signify that welcome by marking the child with the sign of the cross. The godparents promise to support the parents in raising the child in the practice of the Catholic faith. A godparent is encouraged to send a spiritual card to their godchild at Christmas, Easter, Birthday and Baptism “birthday”.
Whom should I choose as godparents/sponsors for my child’s Baptism?
This is a very personal decision. However, the Church does ask that certain requirements be met.
What are the requirements to be a godparent?
In order to be a Catholic godparent, a person must be
- at least 16 years of age;
- a practicing Catholic who is Baptized and Confirmed and has received First Holy Communion;
- if married, the marriage is Sacramentally blessed by the Catholic Church;
- someone other than the parents of the child to be Baptized; and
- leading a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and the role they are about to assume.
- Attending weekly Mass.
- must attend the pre-Baptism class at CTK or their home parish
We ask each of the Catholic godparents/sponsors for a letter from their parish (or we’ll provide) stating that they are members of that parish and eligible to be a godparent. This form may be found on our website at www.CTK-Tampa.org, Sacraments, Baptism, Godparent Eligibility Form.
How can potential godparents obtain a letter indicating that they are eligible to be godparents?
Christ the King has a prepared form that is to be signed by the godparent and pastor of their Catholic Church stating that they are a practicing Catholic. This must be completed prior to scheduling a Baptism date. The form may be downloaded from www.CTK-Tampa.org click on Sacraments then click on Baptism to find the Godparent eligibility form.
How many godparents may (must) I have?
It is only required that there be one godparent, so you must have at least one. It is customary to have two godparents – in this case one must be female and the other male. The Church does not make any provisions for more than two.
We very often receive requests for more than one set of sponsors (godparents). Canonically one set will be recorded in the registry and on the certificate. Any others are welcome to be present at the font, but are not technically godparents.
Do both godparents have to be Catholics?
Yes, a godparent, by definition, is Catholic – thus all godparents are Catholic. But remember that only one godparent is required. Baptized, participating Christians of other denominations may serve as a “Christian Witness” and be so designated in the Baptismal Register. If you choose to do so, you may have one Christian Witness and one Godparent. In this case one must be female and the other male.
Non-Christians may not serve either as godparents or Christian witnesses, but are always welcomed to participate in the celebration.
Questions about the Baptism ceremony and celebration…
Are there costs associated with the Baptismal preparation or the ceremony?
There are no fees for the preparation program, or for the ceremony. However, it is traditional to offer a stipend to the priest/deacon who performs the Baptism.
When are Baptisms scheduled?
Baptisms are a wonderful occasion for our Christ the King community to join together and welcome our newest members into the Church. Our parish celebrates Baptisms about every three weeks. We usually schedule three months out from the time of your meeting with Casey Kiser. This is due to a high demand of Baptisms.
The Baptism ceremony begins with a blessing at the beginning of the 12:30pm Mass, with the remainder of the ceremony immediately following the Mass in the Church. Thus, seating for the child, parents and godparents will be reserved in the front left section of the Church and therefore must be in place before the Mass begins.
It is recommended that the rest of your family and guests arrive early if they wish to sit near the front of the Church.
**Baptisms are not typically scheduled during Lent. During Lent we focus on those being Baptized during the Easter Vigil. Pre-Baptism classes will take place during Lent, but the scheduled Baptisms will resume after Easter.
What should my child wear for the Baptism?
We ask that you dress your child in a white garment to represent the purity and new birth into their faith.
How many Baptisms take place each Sunday?
Baptism is meant to be celebrated as a community to show support for all. We schedule up to six children at each Baptism. Baptisms are generally scheduled every three weeks at the 12:30 pm Sunday Mass.
Any other questions, please contact Stu McEntegart, Coordinator of Adult Formation & Evangelization by telephone at 813.876.5841 ext 2251 or by email at SMcEntegart@CTK-Tampa.org