Baptism is the first sacrament, and through it a person is washed clean of the stain of original sin, enters the state of grace, and becomes a member of the Church. The action of baptism is the pouring of water while saying the following: I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. A priest or deacon is the usual minister of baptism, but in very unusual circumstances (such as danger of death) ordinary lay people can administer it. People of any age can be baptized, but the traditional Catholic practice is to baptize infants and unbaptized adult converts. The person who is baptized has one or two sponsors, who are known as godparents, and the godparents pledge to assist the parents in the religious education of the child. In the solemn baptismal ceremony, the person baptized is anointed with two different consecrated oils. Baptism imparts a special mark or character on the soul, and a person can only be baptized once in his or her lifetime. Baptism is necessary in order to receive the other sacraments. Baptism is said to be one of the “sacraments of initiation,” the other two being Confirmation and Eucharist.

Parents, you are invited to baptize your child as soon as possible after his or her birth.

Godparents, you will need a letter from your parish priest indicating that you are qualified to be a Godparent. Godparents must be married through the Catholic Church or living a Catholic single life.