Arranging a Catholic Baptism

The Baptism ceremony is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Baptisms have traditionally tended to take place as soon as possible after birth although nowadays parents often wait a while, with most baptisms taking place in the first 6 months of a baby's life.

The first step in arranging a Baptism is to visit the Catholic priest who, on request, will make the necessary arrangements.

For a baptism to be arranged at least one parent must be a practising Catholic and the child must have one Godparent although they will often have two.

Before the baptism parents will usually attend one or two sessions with the priest in preparation for the ceremony. This is required so that they can actively participate in the service and also because baptism is seen as connected to personal faith and repentance. As babies cannot repent or have their own faith it is expected that the parents will nurture this in them and raise them in the Catholic faith.

Traditionally Roman Catholic baptisms take place during mass on a Sunday. Often several babies will be baptised in one ceremony with each service lasting approximately half an hour.

At the ceremony the child will be dressed all in white and he/she will be baptised with water and anointed with oil. The baptism will then be recorded in the parish church register and a Baptism certificate will be issued.

For children over the age of 7 there is a different process to prepare for baptism and parents need to contact the relevant parish priest for further information.

Guests at the baptism are not specifically required to bring gifts for a child although they often do. However the Godparents should buy a gift for the child and the child’s parents should buy for the Godparents.

Gifts made with silver are traditional and the most popular.

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