The Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism opens the door to a new life in Jesus Christ... a life that goes beyond our death and into the life of heaven after our death.

Baptism is the sacrament of salvation: an encounter with God that cleanses us from sin and makes us true children of God, sharing in his very own divine life.

This great gift is offered to all who believe and to the children of families of faith.  Since her earliest days, the Church has baptized adults and children because it is the only ordinary way God has revealed that we may receive the grace of salvation through this sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as St. Paul teaches in Romans chapter 6:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

(Romans 6:3, 8, 11)

Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation.  The other two are Confirmation and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Children typically receive the other Sacraments of Initiation after reaching age 7 and before age 16.

Baptism of Infants and Children (under age 7)


It is an ancient custom and also a requirement of Church law that each new Christian have at least one sponsor, traditionally called a Godparent, who “together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations” of this new life. (Code of Canon Law, 872)

Church law and our diocese provide guidelines for the qualifications to serve as a Godparent.  The reason for these requirements is to ensure that the new Christian will have the support they need from their sponsor who will promise to pray for them and help them as they prepare for other sacraments and seek to live out their baptism throughout their lifetime.

Baptism of Adults (and children age 7 and up)

Following the spread of Christianity in the first few generations after the resurrection of Jesus, the Catholic Church developed a process to prepare adults for entry into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Today, the Church calls this process the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA.  Through this process, those who express interest in becoming Catholic are welcomed into a special community within the parish to learn about the teachings of Jesus and his Church, to have their questions answered, learn about the new life in Christ offered by baptism, and prepare for the reception of the Sacraments.

Please contact us to get started!  Nothing more than an interest in learning more about Catholicism is needed to begin.  There is no pressure, only welcome and support as you freely journey towards union with Christ and his Church.

Children who have reached age 7 and have not yet been baptized are considered “adults” with consideration for the reception of sacraments.  This is because - at age 7 - they are able to take personal responsibility for their sins and are able to make a profession of faith on their own.  A special preparation process is provided for them.  Parents, please contact us so that we can help you get started.  It is never too late to baptize your children.

Common Questions

Parents requesting to have their child baptized must be registered members of St. Patrick Church. Registration forms are available at the Parish Business Office or online. There are exceptions, such as family ties to the parish, however any exceptions must be approved by the pastor.

• The Baptism Registration form must be completed and delivered or mailed to the Parish Business Office prior to the baptism class, if this is your first child, or a minimum of one week prior to the baptism, if you have already met the class requirement.

• First time parents are required to take the Baptism Class. Godparents are highly encouraged to attend with parents, but are not required to do so.

Baptisms will take place immediately following the 9:00 Mass in the Church except the 2nd Sunday of the month or unless a holiday conflicts.

Baptism Classes usually take place at 12:15 p.m. in the Church on the 2nd Sunday of the month. Please contact the parish office to be added to the class list. If you have already taken the class for an older child, it is not necessary for you to repeat the class. Contact the parish office to schedule the baptism.

It is important to choose carefully when deciding on Godparents for your child. As Godparents, they are the models of the truth of the faith, and therefore should be strong, practicing Catholics who will guide your child throughout their faith life. Godparents must be at least 16 years of age and have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. At minimum, one Godparent must be an active, practicing Catholic in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church prefers the child have 2 Godparents in good standing with the Church. The one Godparent who is not in good standing with the Church, or who is non-Catholic, will be listed as a Witness on the Baptismal form and certificate. 

No. According to the Code of Canon Law: "To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor [for baptism], a person must . . . not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized" (CIC 874). We may be able to help you find a suitable person to serve as a Godparent.

Traditionally, Godparents often filled this role in the event that both parents died while the child is a minor. However, this is not the case in modern society. Any legal needs to provide for your children should be taken care of in addition to your child's baptism. While it may be the case that a Godparent would make a very suitable candidate for this role, the Church does not make any connection between these unique roles in the care of children in this most difficult circumstance.

We would be happy to write a letter of good standing for you provided that you are a registered parishioner who currently attends Mass as a member of St. Patrick. This letter is usually required to be a Godparent at another Catholic church. Please call the Parish Business Office to inquire. Please allow a minimum of one week’s notice before the letter is needed. 

If you choose Godparents from another Catholic parish, they will need to ask their parish for a letter of good standing for being Godparents.  The letter should indicate the name of the child to be baptized. The letter should be mailed or delivered to St Patrick Church, 705 E. Jefferson, St. Washington, IL 61571 well in advance of the date of the Baptism.