From the earliest days of the Church, there was an understanding that children should not be deprived of the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, which the Lord himself proclaimed to be necessary for salvation. Thus, the normal way people are welcomed into the Catholic Church is as an infant. Children are born and baptized and raised in a Church of faith where they are integral members in the larger faith community. To admit children to baptism recognizes their dignity as co-heirs to the kingdom of heaven—a dignity to which all men and women and children are called.
It should be remembered that sacraments, including baptism, are not ‘rewards’ for passing catechism classes or graduating to another level of spiritual formation. Sacraments are pure gifts of God. While the Church is responsible for seeing to it that those who celebrate the sacraments are properly disposed and prepared, the salvation of souls is the highest concern. One who is baptized is integrated into an entire way of living which only begins at the waters of baptism. Baptism takes place within the context of a community of faith at the request of parents who are members of that community. Thus while the desire to be baptized might be implicit and the very youthful candidate might be unable to express the faith, it is the community starting with the father and mother of the candidate who will express that faith and make it their solemn duty that the faith come alive in their growing child. If there is not a reasonable presumption that a baptized child will be nurtured in the ways of the faith–if a baptism is sought as an act of superstitious protection, of placating grandparents, or simply as a social nicety, then perhaps the parents of the candidate are not prepared to assume their duty as Christian Parents and it would be better for a baptism to be delayed for a time (but never denied) until the parents are willing and able to accept their solemn responsibilities.
Anyone who has not previously been baptized may be baptized. If a child has been previously baptized (in another Christian tradition or in emergency circumstances) there is a separate rite of “Welcoming a Baptized Child to Church” which may be celebrated. Infants and children up to about 7 years old may be baptized at the request of their parents at any time. Children/adolescents from about 7 years of age to about 18 years should receive age-appropriate catechesis, either privately with the parish staff, or through an organized “Rite of Christian Initiation of Children” (RCIC) group. Adults 18 years and older should contact their parish priest for instruction, which normally involves enrollment in the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (RCIA) curriculum.
We require parents who are presenting their first child for baptism to take a short class before the baptism is scheduled. This meeting typically takes place monthly and is scheduled with the parish office or with Deacon Harry Cramer.
The Church has specific requirements for sponsors or godparents who participate in the Rite of Baptism. These requirements are outlined in the links below.
We welcome your inquiries about having your child or children baptized into the Catholic faith. We have prepared a fact sheet answering many of the common questions about having children baptized. Please call the parish office at (217) 222-5996 or e-mail to make arrangements for the celebration of baptism.
— Internal Links —
- SAQ Baptism of Children Fact Sheet
- SAQ Baptism Information Form
- Sponsor Qualification Form (for children to be baptized at St. Anthony)
- Sponsor Recommendation Form (for those requesting letters to be recognized as sponsors at OTHER parishes)
- Request a Baptismal Record from St. Anthony Church or St. Dominic Church
— Diocesan Links —
— External links —