We look forward to welcoming your child into the Catholic Church!
Step 1: Paperwork
To schedule a baptism for your child, you will need to provide:
- Completed Baptism inquiry form
- Copy of child’s birth certificate
- A letter from each godparent’s parish stating he/she is eligible to be a Catholic sponsor. (Note: Godparents who are registered members of Good Shepherd do not need to provide a letter.) For more information on godparent requirements, click here.
Step 2: Preparation Class
In addition to providing the above paperwork, parents must attend a baptism preparation class.
- Parents who have attended a class within the past three years do not need to attend again.
- If class is/was attended at another Catholic parish, a letter from that church verifying the date of attendance is required.
Step 3: Scheduling a Baptism
After all paperwork is submitted and you are registered for a baptism preparation class, the baptism coordinator will contact you about available dates and times. Baptisms take place on Saturdays, and at specific Sunday Masses.
A godparent’s responsibility is to foster the faith of their godchild. This means being a role-model of faith, prayer, and service.
Why does the Church have these requirements? The role of a godparent is significant. During the celebration of the sacrament of baptism, the godparents make a promise to assist the parents of the child in fulfilling their responsibility of forming the child in the Catholic faith. In order to fulfill this promise, the godparent must themselves be living the Catholic faith, and their lifestyle must be in keeping with the teachings of the Church. Simply put, one cannot sponsor someone for baptism if they are not in full communion with the Church and the teachings of the Church.
The Code of Canon Law specifies the requirements for serving as a godparent. Canon Law (Church Law) references are Canons 851.2, and 872-874.
The requirements to be a godparent:
- Must be someone other than the parent of the one to be baptized.
- Must have received the sacraments of baptism, Holy Eucharist, and confirmation.
- Must be at least 16 years of age.
- If there will be two godparents, one must be male and one must be female.
- A godparent must be leading a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken; therefore,
- If married, must be married in the Church.
- If single, must be striving to live a chaste life and cannot be living with a person outside of marriage.
- Must be a practicing Catholic, registered in a parish, who regularly attends Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and receives the Holy Eucharist. Registration in their local parish is encouraged so that they may participate fully in the life of the Church through their parish.
If a godparent is not a parishioner of Good Shepherd, the godparent must provide a letter from his/her home parish verifying he/she is eligible to serve as a Catholic sponsor. Letters should be sent from the parish directly to Good Shepherd via mail (“Attn: Baptism Coordinator”), or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our fax number is 703-842-8232.
If a godparent cannot attend the baptism, a proxy may attend in their place. A proxy must be at least 16 years of age.
The Code of Canon Law requires that children to be baptized have at least one, but no more than two, godparent(s) or one godparent and one Christian Witness (a non-Catholic baptized Christian).