marble baptismal font


Sacrament of Baptism


Baptism is celebrated in the parish where the family resides or geographically closest to; this is the parish community where the family registered and worship regularly and raise the child in the faith. It is highly recommended that parents contact the parish office at least two months in advance of the birth of their child or as soon as possible after the birth. Parents are obligated to participate in our baptismal preparation program. If you are outside the boundaries and not registered at our parish, we encourage you to contact the parish that is nearest to you.


1. Determining Necessary Preparation

Parishes should meet with the parent/legal guardian to deetermine what sort of preparation is necessary, by enquiring about:

    • the reason for the request for baptism;
    • how the parent/legal guardian have provided for the religious development of any other children in their family;
    • how the family is presently involved in the parish or the life of the church, and
    • what their future plans are to enable their child to grow in the faith.

2. Preparation for Infant Baptism

For 'infant' Baptism (under the age of 7 or non sui compos): at least one parent/legal guardian has to consent and there must be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. The parent or legal guardian must provide proof of their own Catholic Baptism. The parent or legal guardian, as well as the Godparent(s) must be suitably instructed about the meaning of the sacrament and the obligations involved.
A person who is cognitively unable to be responsible for oneself is also regarded as an infant with respect to Baptism.

3. Delaying Infant Baptism

If non-Catholic, Baptism can never be denied. It can, however, be delayed for appropriate pastoral reasons.Circumstances for delaying may include a combination of;

    • serious doubt about the future upbringing of the child in the faith;
    • a current contentious divorce proceeding;
    • an unfinalized adoption of a child.

The fact of an irregular union of the parents is not an automatic reason for delaying a baptism. Furthermore, any delay in the baptism presumes that the child is not in danger of death.

4. Preparation for Adult Baptism (age of 7 or over 14, sui compos): between the age of 7 and 13 years of age:

  • preparation should be received through an appropriate parish program; the program is to be 6 to 8 sessions inlength;
  • the child should be Confirmed at the appropriate time with his/her peers;
  • at least one parent should consent to the Baptism. 14 years of age or older:
  • preparation should be received through RCIA;
  • the person must receive the sacrament of Confirmation during the same liturgical event as the Baptism18.

5. Preparation for Children with Special Needs

If a child of school age has special learning needs, preparation materials may be given to the Special Education teacher for remote instruction. If doubt exists about the intellectual readiness of the individual, the benefit of the doubt goes to him or her, and they should receive the sacrament.

6. Preparation of those in Irregular Unions

Persons living in irregular unions cannot be admitted to the Order of Catechumens or celebrate the Rite of Election until their situation has been rectified (they can, however, be baptized in danger of death). An irregular unionincludes: those cohabitating, a divorced and civilly remarried person, or other unions which contradict divine law. Notwithstanding, a person who is divorced or separated, but who is not remarried or cohabitating, may begin preparation towards baptism and be admitted to the Order of Catechumens and celebrate the Rite of Election. Within this process, they should be encouraged to seek a canonical remedy for their situation (e.g. decree ofnullity, lack of form, etc.).
It is up to the pastor to prudently decide if a candidate is ready to receive the sacrament.


  1. Role of Godparent. As far as possible, a person to be baptized should be given a Godparent, although it is notrequired for the validity or the liceity of the sacrament. In adult Baptism, the Godparent assists in Christian initiation. In infant Baptism, the Godparent with the parents present the child for Baptism. Godparents support the baptized to lead a Christian life to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent to the sacrament.
  2. Number of Godparents. There may be one Godfather, one Godmother, or one of each. Accordingly, if there aretwo Godparents, one must be male and the other female. Only a maximum of two names are inscribed in thebaptismal register as the official Godparents, no matter the actual number of Godparents the family may have chosen.
  3. Qualifications to Be a Godparent. To qualify for the function of Godparent, a person must be 16 years of age or older, be fully initiated (i.e. received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion), and be in full communion with the Catholic Church leading a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on (i.e.receiving the sacraments regularly to the best of their ability, not under any ecclesiastical penalty, and not in an irregular union). Beyond these basic requirements, the candidate for Godparent must also have the aptitude and intention to discharge their responsibility to help their Godchild fulfill his or her baptismal promises faithfully.
  4. Christian Witnesses. A validly baptized person belonging to a non-Catholic church or ecclesial community may be admitted as a witness to Baptism but only along with a Catholic Godparent. A Christian Witness can be male or female regardless of the sex of the Catholic Godparent. However, those who have been initiated into their faith tradition solely by virtue of a ‘rite of dedication’ cannot be a Christian Witness since they have not received Baptism. Catholics who otherwise do not qualify to be a Godparent, cannot be a Christian Witness.
  5. Eastern Orthodox Godparents. A member of an Eastern Orthodox church may be permitted to act as a Godparent provided there is a primary Godparent who is Catholic.
  6. Letter of Suitability for Godparent. It is not automatically required to ask for a letter of good standing for a Godparent. However, if serious doubt exists about his or her qualification for the function, a request may be made for a letter of suitability from his or her pastor, or for an updated baptismal certificate. The Office of Spiritual Affairs has devised a sample registration form for Baptism, which requires among other things, information about the qualification of the Godparent. The purpose of this form is to minimize requests for further documentation from prospective Godparents.

Additional references from the Archdioces of Toronto