Infants or Children
We rejoice with you in the celebration of your family and our Catholic faith! This page will assist you in celebrating the baptism of your infant or child. If you are an adult (18 or older) and would like to be baptized in the Catholic Church, you will find information you need on our RCIA page.
Parents can begin preparing as soon as desired for the Baptism of their baby. We recommend beginning the process while mom is pregnant—three to four months before the child’s birth.
How old should my infant child be to be baptized? Under ordinary circumstances, the Church recommends that babies be baptized within the first few weeks (Canon Law #876). The first consideration in determining the timing, though, is the welfare of the child. The phrase “within the first weeks after birth” may be interpreted to allow for family considerations, but please do not delay the baptism unduly.
What if my child is no longer an infant? We welcome older children to Baptism! A child under the age of seven undergoes the same preparation for baptism as infants do: the child’s parents are the focus of preparation. Depending on the understanding and maturity of your young child, however, this might be a wonderful opportunity for them to share in the preparation process. If your child is seven or older (up through 17 years old), we prepare both parents and children for the sacrament, and we will work with you to find the best pathway that leads your child to the celebration of Baptism and other sacraments. This preparation would likely include enrolling the child in our Youth Faith Formation program. If you child is currently in first grade or older, please contact the Youth Faith Formation Office to discuss Baptism preparation (Kristi Loar at Kloar@sjnstcharles.org or 630-377-2797).
Steps for Baptism at St. John Neumann
As soon as possible, complete the Baptism Inquiry Form below. If you are baptizing an infant, we encourage you to complete this form while mom is still pregnant within three to four months of birth.
Inform the Parish Office of your child’s godparent(s) and secure notification from at least one of the godparent’s home parish stating that the godparent is a member of that parish, Catholic, and qualified to serve as such. This is called a “Letter of Good Standing.” The godparent’s parish should send the letter to: Parish Office, St. John Neumann Church, 2900 E. Main Street, Saint Charles, IL 60174. This letter is needed before the child’s baptism can take place. See considerations below to assist you in choosing godparent(s).
Support the cost of the baptism. The suggested amount for a baptism celebration is $80. This cost goes to cover materials provided by the parish for each baptism and administrative efforts. Please give this amount directly to the Parish Office via check (payable to St. John Neumann) or exact cash before attending the Baptism Information Session (BIS) (or at least one week before the Baptism if you are not required to attend the BIS). You can also pay this amount via our Online Giving site using a credit or debit card. Should you wish to offer directly the presider (the priest or deacon) a gift on the day of the Baptism, you are welcome to do so separately. A typical presider stipend is $25.
If this is your first child to be baptized (or it has been more than 5 years since another child’s baptism), parents need to complete a Baptism Information Session. Your child’s baptism cannot be scheduled until parents have completed the BIS. The BIS presents the sacrament of baptism, what the sacrament means for your child’s future and the future of your family, and the unique roles that parents and godparents have during and after the baptism. The BIS consists of two portions: (1) a series of on-line videos and a packet of questions that parents and godparent complete, and (2) a meeting between parents, godparents, and SJN staff to break open the video content, walk through the baptism rite, and answer any questions or concerns. This second portion of the BIS, the meeting, can be held either via video conferencing or in-person. Parents will be asked their preference for scheduling this meeting when completing the Baptism Inquiry Form.
After your child is born and after and after you have completed the BIS class, contact the Parish Office to reserve a date for the baptism (firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-377-2797). We normally celebrate as many as three baptisms on most Sunday afternoons at 1:30 pm in our Church.
Follow the logistics below on the day of the baptism. These logistics will help make the experience stress-free and joyous!
Considerations for Your Child's Baptism
CONSIDER your own faith and the faith of your spouse. At least one parent of the child to be baptized must be a practicing Catholic willing to rear the child in the faith of the Church. Parents should accept that they are their child’s first and foremost teachers of the faith.
- “Practicing Catholic” means that one parent holds true all that the Church teaches and proclaims, and that this parent is active in worship and liturgical celebrations of the Church. Oftentimes, the baptism of the child can be the tipping point to move a parent to a greater commitment to the practice of the faith. What a joyous grace of the sacrament!
- If one parent is not a practicing Catholic, it is only required that the non-practicing parent agree that the child can be baptized. There must be a well-founded expectation in the family that the child will be brought up in the Catholic tradition.
CONSIDER your parish membership. Baptisms are celebrations of the Catholic community where you worship, so ideally you should celebrate the sacrament at your home parish. Having a child baptized means that you are committing to raise the child in the midst of a Catholic faith community.
- If the child to be baptized lives in the boundaries of a Catholic Church other than St. John Neumann, we are happy to work with you. We do understand that there may be special reasons for this desire.
- If you are looking to join a Catholic faith community, we welcome you to regularly worship with us and register as parishioners. To register your family as members of St. John Neumann visit our Join Our Parish.
CONSIDER your role as parents. Parents have an important role in the baptism of infants:
- They are to prepare and take part in the Rite of Baptism with understanding.
- After the baptism, it is the responsibility and joy of the parents to raise their child to practice our faith.
- Catholic parents are urged, in accord with their own baptismal promises, to keep the precepts (or minimum effort) of the Church: attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, confession of serious sin at least once a year, reception of Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season, observance of the days of fast and abstinence, and providing for the needs of the Church.
CONSIDER your child’s godparent(s). Choose godparents who will be a long-lasting help in the Christian formation of your child. A “godparent” is not an honorary role, but one that has real responsibilities. Consider this: Who are the Catholic people in your life who inspire you in the faith? If possible, a godparent should participate with parents in the Baptism preparation (or the Baptism Information Session). One godparent is required for the child being baptized. If your child has two godparents, one must be female and the other male. The Church does not make any provisions for more than two godparents.
Godparents must meet the following minimum requirements:
- At least 16 years of age
- A practicing Catholic who has celebrated the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
- Someone other than the parents of the child being baptized
- A proxy for the godparent can stand in at the Baptism celebration, but the proxy is not the child’s godparent.
The godparent represents the larger Catholic community. They, along with the parents, should prepare and take part in the Rite of Baptism with understanding. The godparent supports the parents so that they can successfully rear the child in the practice of the Catholic faith. A godparents must be actively involved in the Catholic tradition because he or she serves as a model and guide to the child and the parents.
St. John Neumann needs a letter from the Catholic parish of at least one godparent, stating that the godparent is a member of the parish, Catholic, and qualified to serve as such. Parishes routinely provide these letters. The parish should send the letter to: Parish Office, St. John Neumann Church, 2900 E. Main Street, Saint Charles, IL 60174. This letter is needed before the child’s baptism can take place.
Guidelines for godparents are available in detail from the Rockford Diocese.
Logistics for the Day of Baptism
- On the day of the Baptism, you and your family are invited to attend our Noon Mass.
- On the day of the Baptism, please enter through the main Church doors by the outside Mary statue (our Mary garden). Arrive no later than 1:15pm. The Baptism will be in the main church. (If you attend Noon Mass, after Mass remain in the church.)
- The Baptism will begin promptly at 1:30pm.
- St. John Neumann will provide a Baptism candle and a white bib, which is placed on your child’s chest at the appropriate time (after the anointing with Chrism). We also provide a Certificate of Baptism, which we recommend you keep with your important papers. Your child may be dressed in a Baptism outfit of your choice.
- We schedule up to three baptisms each Sunday. Plan for the celebration to take about one hour. Afterwards, you are welcomed to take photos. You are welcomed to use our many garden areas for your photos as well.
- After the Baptism, we encourage you to formally join our parish if you have not already done so. This will set you out on the right foot in raising your family in our beautiful Catholic faith. You can do so by registering on our web site. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this important moment in your family’s faith life! Congratulations!