Baptism - Infant/Child
"I baptize you in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
We are excited to help you with the baptism of your child. Baptism brings new life into the Church and the parish. Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help you. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact the Receptionist to get signed up for class and a baptism date.
What is Baptism?
”Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is a sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.” (Catechism 1213) Through baptism, we become part of the royal, priestly people of God, called to holy lives of prayer and service.
How do I get my child Baptized?
Start with the parish receptionist, 616-456-1454 x1909 or email. She will help you fill out the necessary forms and register you for a baptismal preparation class. You will receive a Baptism Preparation Packet and your next steps.
Where and when do Baptisms take place?
Infant baptisms in English are held monthly in the Cathedral (301 Sheldon SE). The monthly baptism schedule is based upon the availability of the Church. English Baptisms will typically take place at a Sunday Mass, once a month. Spanish Baptisms may take place during the Sunday Spanish Mass or on Saturday mornings once a month.
Can I schedule a private baptism or a date other than the regular schedule?
It is our desire to serve the parents and families of the Cathedral. The priests will do their best to assist with special needs. Please bring these up when you talk to the receptionist. It is important to understand that Baptism celebrates the initiation of the child into the parish community. Public baptisms ensure that the community is present at the baptismal celebration.
How far ahead do I need to plan?
Please call two months before you desire your child to be baptized. Since parents are required to attend a preparation class prior to the baptism of their children, you will need to have enough time to complete the class before the baptism of your child. We welcome your call even prior to the birth of your child.
What are the requirements?
The minimal requirements are as follows:
1) One of the parents must be a baptized and practicing Catholic.
2) One of the godparents must be a baptized, confirmed and practicing Catholic.
3) Both parents are to attend the baptism preparation classes prior to baptism.
My child is school age. Do I need to register them for religious education?
Yes. Register your child for his or her appropriate grade level religious education. In addition to attending religious education classes, your child needs to register for special baptism prep classes. Parents and children attend these classes together.
Older youth of high school age normally enroll in the RCIA process to prepare for baptism. Find out more by visiting our RCIA page.
If your child is of school age please contact Sean Donovan our Director of Religious Education.
Who can be a Godparent?
To be a Catholic godparent, one must:
- be a Catholic who has received the Sacrament of Confirmation and regularly participates in the Eucharist
- be an active member of a Catholic faith community
- be at least sixteen years old
When choosing a godparent for your child, it may be helpful to consider the following:
- Is this person actively practicing his or her faith? Does he or she worship at Sunday Eucharist regularly? (This is the most important question to ask. If the person selected is not an active, practicing Catholic, he or she will not be able to fulfill effectively the role of godparent.)
- Does this person live close enough, or will this person have sufficiently frequent contact, to get to know your child and play an active role in your child's faith life?
- Does this person know enough about the Catholic Church and Catholic faith to be able to teach your child about it?
- If something happened to you, would this person make sure your child was raised as an active member of the Catholic Community?
Can a non-Catholic be a Godparent?
Some families may wish to have a non-Catholic Christian also serve as a godparent for their child. Although one Catholic godparent is required for baptism, a second baptized (non-Catholic) Christian may serve as a "Christian witness." This Christian witness participates in the celebration and stands alongside the godparent during the baptismal ceremony.
What if a Godparent cannot come to the actual celebration?
You can have a proxy stand in for the godparent(s). Please let the staff know, so they can record the name of the proxy on the baptismal certificate.
I am an adult. What do I need to do to be baptized?
The process for baptism for adults is through the Rite of Initiation for Adults (RCIA). You can find out more by visiting our RCIA page.