Infant Baptism Policy
The Sacrament of Baptism, the first of the three sacraments of initiation, is also the first of the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. It removes the guilt and effects of Original Sin and incorporates the baptized into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.
REQUIREMENTS FOR BAPTISM
To register for baptism, please call the Rectory Office to set up a meeting with Deacon Frank. Bring with you the child’s birth certificate.
The parish phone number is 718-763-5533
Parents must attend a baptism preparation class. The purpose of these classes is to convey an understanding of the sacrament in the Church today; to help parents recognize their responsibility and role in the development of their child’s faith, and to welcome both the newly baptized and their families into our parish family. Godparents are also encouraged to attend.
Baptism classes are normally held on the second Thursday of each month in the Rectory at 7:00 p.m.
If you are not registered in the parish and do not live within our boundaries, a Letter of Permission from your home parish is required.
At least one of the Godparents must be a practicing and confirmed Roman Catholic and must obtain a Sponsor Certificate from their parish.
Preparation for Infant Baptism
The sacrament of Baptism marks the beginning in the life of faith. Adults and children old enough to understand Baptism are given extensive formation and instruction prior to their reception of the sacrament but in the case of infants, it has been understood throughout the centuries that an infant is baptized into the faith of his or her immediate faith community (e.g., parents, extended family, parish) for this is the faith in which he or she will mature and grow and come to truly understand the meaning and significance of the Christian way of life.
Baptizing your child is next to meaningless if the infant cannot rely upon this ongoing support of both the family and this faith community. Therefore, the minister of baptism needs to have a well-founded hope that the child to be baptized will actually enjoy the living example and support of the Catholic parent(s) and will grow up in a state of easy familiarity with religious practice.
Requirements for Parents
Normally, at least one parent must be a “practicing” Catholic.
What does it mean to be a “practicing” Catholic? In terms of the sacraments, a practicing Catholic has a very active sacramental life. He or she goes to Mass a minimum of once a week and lives a life in union with the Church and her teachings. A practicing Catholic is also a person of prayer. Each day, a Catholic responds to God’s call to personal communion through quiet time and reflection.
Catholic Christians recognize the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Mass, the Eucharist) as the indispensable source of ongoing spiritual nourishment. As a community, we are fed from the tables of the Word of God and Jesus’ Eucharistic sacrifice. Catholics should not habitually stay away from, or in any instance excuse themselves lightly from, the Sunday celebration of Mass.
Participation in the Eucharist, and in a life of prayer in general, allow us truly to be “practicing” – to be open to the grace God gives us to live courageously and lovingly. Any other laws we are to follow, any other challenges we are given, are made easier because we allow ourselves to be fed.
If you have not been attending Mass regularly, we want to invite you to begin attending Mass not just for your own sake – but for the sake of your child. During the baptism ceremony you will testify that it is your intention to bring the child up in the life of the Catholic Church. We ask that you start living out this promise by beginning to attend Mass. You will see St. Bernard parish has much to offer your children as they grow up and your attendance at Mass will teach your child the importance of practicing their faith. There is no better gift you can give your child than by nurturing the gift of faith – a faith that is lived out by attending Mass each Sunday.
Catholic Christians must have a parish affiliation. If you are not a registered parishioner of St. Bernard and live outside the parish boundaries, the pastor needs the permission of the pastor where you live in order to baptize your child.
St. Bernard, like other Catholic churches, uses the envelope system to determine Mass attendance. If you don’t use envelopes and the priest or deacon does not recognize you, there is no way to confirm that you attend Mass. So, please be sure to use your envelopes every Sunday. While we encourage parishioners to be good stewards, we do not dictate how much each family should give.