What are the requirements for baptism?
- For a child to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church there must be a basis that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. In practice, this generally means that at least one parent is Catholic.
- You must be a registered member of the parish if you wish to have your child baptized at St. Norbert. Please call the Parish Office if you have any questions about your registration status (847-272-7090).
- Parents must to participate in a preparation session before a child’s baptism.
- Each child brought forward for baptism must also have at least one Godparent who is a confirmed, practicing Catholic over the age of 16.
At what age are children usually baptized?
There is no age limit, but at St. Norbert, infants are generally baptized between three and six months old. We offer baptismal preparation designed to meet the needs of older children and their parents. Please contact Frances Johnson, Pastoral Associate regarding the baptism of older children.
What about single parents or parents who weren’t married in the church?
St. Norbert Parish welcomes every parent to bring their child forward for baptism, no matter what the circumstances. Parents not married in the Roman Catholic Church may consider having their marriage convalidated in the church. The Parish Staff will gladly assist you in the process, though it is not required for baptizing your child.
What are the requirements for Godparents?
The church requires at least one Godparent who is a practicing, confirmed Catholic age 16 or older. That Godparent’s name is entered into the parish record book as the “official” godparent or sponsor for baptism.
- If you choose more than two godparents, one or two may have their names entered into the book as “official” godparents, and the others can be “honorary” godparents.
- If you choose two godparents of the same sex, only one can be the “official” godparent for the record book, and the other can be a witness.
- Baptized non-Catholic Christians may not be “official” godparents for the record book, but they may be Christian witnesses for your child.
- People who are not baptized Christians also may not be “official” godparents for the record book. You may certainly invite non-Christian friends or relatives to attend the celebration and to have a special place in your child’s life, sharing with your child their own faith traditions.
When will we receive the baptism certificate?
The priest or deacon performing the sacrament will give you one baptism certificate on the day of the baptism. If your child ever needs a copy of the baptism certificate later, perhaps for school registration or for marriage, please contact the parish office.
Is there a fee?
Many parents like to give a “thanksgiving offering” at the time of the child’s baptism. No fee is required, but we suggest an offering of $50 or more, if that feels right to you. Contributions help fund the preparation program, as well as the paperwork and supplies involved. You may make your offering on the day of the baptism or mail it in to the church office. The offering goes to St Norbert Parish, not to the celebrant of the sacrament.
Can we have the baptism celebrated in another church but do the preparation at St. Norbert?
That can certainly be done; it just calls for a little simple paperwork, primarily from the parish office. Be sure to check with the other parish for their requirements, and let us know the other parish’s mailing address so we can send an official letter to states that you have participated in preparation and we offer jurisdiction for the baptism to be celebrated elsewhere. Please let us know the baby’s name, date of birth, and date of baptism, so that we can add it to your family’s records here at St. Norbert.
What happens during the preparation sessions?
The sessions are designed to help you reflect spiritually on being new parents and how this great change has affected your own relationship with God. We also reflect together on the faith you desire for your child. It is a great way to meet other parents in the parish and to answer any questions you may have. They discuss the theology of the sacrament of baptism, as well as practical aspects of the ceremony itself.
What do the Baptism Symbols Mean?
- Water is a symbol of both life and death. Its use in baptism is central to the sacrament representing taking on a new life in Christ. At St. Norbert Parish, baptismal water is sprinkled over the child’s forehead three times, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
- The baptismal candle is a symbol of the light of Christ which is coming into the child’s life. The Paschal [Easter] Candle is always lit and present near the altar during mass and baptism ceremonies. The Paschal Candle represents the light of Christ. The baptismal candle is provided to the presider, lit from the Paschal candle after the water baptism. The lit candle is presented to the baptized, held by the father or a godparent during the remainder of the ceremony. The presentation of the lit candle represents how the newly baptized will become a son or daughter of “the light.” The use of the baptismal candle is encourages at future family birthday to celebrate the anniversary of the child being baptized into the Christian family.
- The White garment is a symbol of transition and change; purity and cleansing. Its use in the baptism is a visible sign of putting on Christ, of taking on a new way of life.
- Oil is a symbol used in many sacraments representing power and strength which comes from the Lord. It also has healing properties. Chrism means “to anoint.” Baptismal oil, chrism, is olive oil with special perfume which is blessed by the bishop in a special ceremony once a year. In the baptismal ceremony it is used to anoint forehead of the newly baptized. The anointing of the heads of the newly baptized with chrism is accompanied with a declaration which shows that Baptism is the foundation of Christian life.
“God has freed you from sin and willed that you be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, uniting you with his people, he himself consecrates you with the chrism of salvation so that as part of Christ, priest, king and prophet you may be members of his body for life everlasting.”
With Baptism the whole of our existence is called to become living witness. The presider may also choose to anoint the breastbone during the baptism ceremony using the Oil of Catechumens. This is plain olive oil which is blessed by the bishop.