I am a planner/list maker. If you could see the lists I made before baby #3 was born, you would either be impressed or nauseated at the level of detail involved. One of the first things I start to consider as I get further along in my pregnancy, is the baby’s Baptism. In fact, I usually start planning the Baptism before I even think about delivery. If planning for sacramental celebrations (like baptisms or first communions) or even a birthday party causes a cold-sweat, you will want to pin this article and save it!
The Essentials (Before Birth)
There are several items that are vitally important to a Baptism that can be dealt with before the baby is even born.
During our pregnancy, we spend a lot of time considering who we want to ask to be Godparents. Keep in mind, that if they may take their responsibility as godparents seriously, they will be involved in your life for the next 18 or more years. We STILL invite my husband’s Godparents to almost all family functions & parties.
Traditionally, Catholic children are named for saints. If you have your heart set on a more unique name, make sure the baby’s middle name is a saint. It helps if you know who his patron saint is, too. Sometimes the priest asks and there is usually more than one Clare or Theresa or what have you.
Even if you’ve been attending a Mass regularly, you are required to be a member at the church where your children receive Sacraments. Usually, you are required to fill out paperwork identifying you as a member of the parish and a Catholic. In addition, you are traditionally required to contribute to the church regularly (they will make sure you get envelopes) in money and/or time.
Call the parish to find out about any requirements, timelines, etc. Generally, you will need to take a class from your parish. Classes from other parishes don’t usually apply, but if you have done it at that church before, they don’t typically require you to take it again.
The Blessed Event
Date & Time
Pick a date & time. Traditionally, the Baptism has been the first outing after the birth of the child. I never have my stuff together in time for that. In fact, I don’t even usually hit the 30 day guideline our current parish suggests. In our church, it’s usually after Mass, though I’ve heard of them being during Mass, as well.
Friends & Family
Decide how big a deal it is to you. You might just include the godparents & grandparents. Or you could do it big & invite all the extended family & friends you can think of, like we do.
Traditionally, babies wear white to be baptized. Do you have an outfit or need to borrow one? A family heirloom, perhaps?
Do you want photos or video taken? It’s best to line up a friend or family who is in charge of pictures or video. We neglected to do that with our second child and everyone was SO involved in watching the baptism, that no one in attendance got a single good photo. No one. So, if you want them, remember to put someone (or more than one someone) in charge of taking photos.
So, if you are a new Catholic or are having your first baby, these are a few things that I think about for the baptism of each of my little ones.
If this is all too overwhelming, remember that you don’t HAVE to do any of this. A baptism is primarily is about the Sacrament and so if all you have energy to do is coordinate the Godparents and the priest, it will still be a beautiful and intimate event. But if you have the energy or desire to do a little more, I hope that these tips help make it a little less stressful.
Do you have any Baptism preparation tips?