The Sacrament of Baptism is often called "The door of the Church," because it is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time
(since most Catholics receive it as infants) but in priority, since the reception of the other sacraments depends on it. It is the
first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church. Traditionally, the rite (or ceremony) of baptism was held outside the doors
of the main part of the church, to signify this fact.
The Necessity of Baptism:
Christ Himself ordered His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations and to baptize those who accept the message of the Gospel.
In His encounter with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), Christ made it clear that baptism was necessary for salvation: "Amen, amen I say to thee,
unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." For Catholics, the sacrament is not
a mere formality; it is the very mark of a Christian, because it brings us into new life in Christ.
In the Catholic Church today, Baptism is most commonly administered to infants. While some other Christians strenuously object to
infant baptism, believing that baptism requires assent on the part of the person being baptized, the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans,
Lutherans, and other mainline Protestants also practice infant baptism, and there is evidence that it was practiced from the earliest
days of the Church.
Since baptism removes both the guilt and the punishment due to Original Sin, delaying baptism until a child can understand the sacrament
may put the child's salvation in danger, should they die unbaptized.
The Sacrament of Baptism, for infants, at Saint Patrick's Basilica is offered to the family member of our registered parishioners.
Parents are obligated to pre-register, and complete our infant Baptismal session, which is offered in the Baptistry, on the last
Monday of month.
Following the session, parents are then invited to complete a
Baptismal Application Form
, and have it reviewed by the Priest giving the infant Baptismal session. The form asks for information
on the child being baptized, the parents (who are attending the session) and the sponsor(s) (Godfather &/or Godmother). The
Godparent(s) must be practicing Roman Catholics, attending Mass on a regular basis and in good standing with the Roman Catholic
Church; this is to be confirmed with a written letter of testimony obtained from their Parish Priest. Confirmation of a date for
your child's Baptism will only take place once the letter of testimony for each Sponsor has been received. Letter of testimony must
be received by the Basilica office at least two(2) weeks prior to the date of Baptism. The dates for Baptism fall on the first
Saturday of each month at 9:30 a.m. OR the next three Sundays beginning at 1:15p.m. (after the 12:15p.m.) Mass.
Adult converts to Catholicism also receive the sacrament, unless they have already received a Christian baptism. (If there is any doubt
about whether an adult has already been baptized, the priest will perform a conditional baptism.) A person can only be baptized once
as a Christian. If, say, he was baptized as a Lutheran, he cannot be rebaptized when he converts to Catholicism.
While an adult can be baptized after proper instruction in the Faith, adult baptism normally occurs today as part of the Rite of
Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and is immediately followed by Confirmation and Communion. Our annual RCIA course begins in
September and concludes during Holy Week (Easter).