Baptisms at Saint Mary's

This page relates to the Baptism of children under the age of 7. For information on the Baptism of older children please click here.

When a child is born, a family rejoices. The child belongs to their family. Baptism is the sacrament which makes a child part of the Family of the Church, and the Parish will rejoice with you. This page will explain the procedure for baptism in our Parish, and give you a flavour of what we believe. We hope you find it useful.

Baptism: the basics

From the very beginning of the Church, baptism was the Sacrament that made people members, whether this was adults or children. By being baptised, they belonged to the family of the Church. Belonging is very important to us. But belonging is not just about a single ceremony: it is about who we are, and what we do. It is the same with baptism. To have a child baptised means that you wish them to belong to the Catholic Church - to be a part of it. This means as parents you have to ask yourselves some questions:

  • Can we honestly promise to do our best to teach our child about the Catholic Church?
  • Will we give an example of belonging by taking part in the life of the Church ourselves?
  • Can we honestly say that Baptism is more than just a way into a Catholic school?

If you answer ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ to any of these questions, you should perhaps think again about baptism in the Catholic Church.

Conditions for Baptism

Anyone can be baptised in the Catholic Church, as long as they (or their parents if they are aged under 7) can make the solemn profession of faith, and will promise to be part of the Catholic Church in the future. In the case of a child, this means that at least one of the parents must be a Roman Catholic themselves.

At least one parent must be a baptised Roman Catholic - proof of this will be required.

A person must be baptised in the Parish where they live.

A person being baptised must have at least one practising Roman Catholic godparent.

Who can be a godparent?

Only Catholics over the age of 16 may be godparents at Catholic baptisms. Other Christians may stand as Christian Witnesses (the equivalent of godparents), but must be baptised themselves - they have to make the profession of faith as well. Baptismal certificates are required for each godparent or Christian Witness.

How is Baptism celebrated?

Baptism is a rich and ancient ceremony. The priest will guide you through the celebration, so that you and your guests can fully take part. We would ask you to remind your guests that it is a Church ceremony, and that they should behave and dress accordingly. We do not allow photographs or videos during the ceremony. While there is no charge for Baptism, it is customary to make a donation to the Parish. 

A lot more information is available from the leaflet 'Baptism' available in the church porch, or you can download it here.