Baptism

Frequently asked questions

What documents, fees, or information do I need in order to attend the baptismal classes?

A baptismal form needs to be filled out by one of the parents in the office. It may NOT be taken home.

A copy of the birth or hospital certificate needs to be attached to the form, and a $50 church fee given in cash or check six weeks prior to the date of baptism, must be received.

See Baptismal classes.
See Baptismal forms.

I've taken baptismal classes before at St. Bernard or a different parish. Do I have to enroll again at St. Bernard?

Not if you've taken a baptismal class within the last two years. If either the parents or godparents have attended a baptismal class within the last two years, we will just need proof of attendance.

We are not married, but we do live together. Can we baptize our child in the Catholic Church?

Catholic parents and godparents ought to be living their Catholic faith as fully as possible by being married in the church, if possible. To discuss your current situation, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our parish priests.

Our child is currently 4 years of age; my husband and I would like to baptize her. Is this possible?

Yes, and your child qualifies to be baptized as an infant. If the child is 6 years old before the date of baptism, the child cannot be baptized as an infant; he or she must enter the two-year RCIA program for children.

In the second year at the Vigil of Easter (Holy Saturday), the child will receive all three Sacraments of Initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.

See RCIA.

To make arrangements to have your child baptized, the church office at least six months in advance.

Call the church office at (323) 255-6142, email stbernardla@stbernardla.cc, or visit us in person.


What is Baptism?

The word baptism in its origins is Greek and means "immersion" and "bath." Immersion in water is a sign of death and immersion out of the water means new life. To bathe in water is also to undergo cleansing. Saint Paul sums up this truth when he says, "You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).

The origin and foundation of Christian baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. "He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake ... to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water" (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Liturgy of the Hours, I, 634).

Jesus' immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God's will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father.

By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin — original and actual — and begin to live a new life with God.

Baptismal classes

List of classes:

Next English baptism class:

1. September 7

La siguiente clase bautismal en español:

2. Septiembre 14

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Classes in English for parents and godparents are normally held in the Pastoral Center; classes in Spanish for parents and godparents are normally held in the parish hall.

Sign-in for English classes begins at 6:30 p.m. Classes begin promptly at 6:45 p.m. No late arrivals. No children allowed in classes.

Sign-in for Spanish classes begins at 7 p.m. Classes begin promptly at 7:15 p.m. No late arrivals. No children allowed in classes.

Baptismal forms

A baptismal form needs to be filled out by one of the parents in the office. It may NOT be taken home.

A copy of the birth or hospital certificate needs to be attached to the form, and a $50 church fee given in cash or check six weeks prior to the date of baptism, must be received.

Please write a notation on the bottom of the check with “Baptism of [child's name] and [date of baptism].) A notation of the fee having been paid will be made on the registration form and on the envelope that we have for baptismal donations.

All the information needs to be filled out and be legible.

If the father's name is not on the birth/hospital certificate, it will not be not written on the baptismal certificate. If the mother presents a birth certificate with the father’s name on it, we will add his name to our baptismal register and issue a new certificate.

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

If the child is 6 years old before the date of baptism, the child cannot be baptized as an infant; he or she must enter the two-year RCIA program for children.

In the second year at the Vigil of Easter (Holy Saturday), the child will receive all three Sacraments of Initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.

You may come to the church office to register a child 6 years and older.

Godparents

Normally, there are two godparents who are baptized Roman Catholic and have received all three sacraments of initiation.

At least one godparent must be Roman Catholic.

A non-Catholic Christian may participate as a Christian witness.

Godparents should be married by the church and fully living their faith, since their lives are a witness to the child they are baptizing.

No one, including grandparents, may arrange for or authorize the baptism of a child without written permission form the parents unless they are legal guardians of the child (proof must be provided).

Spiritual disposition of parents

Catholic parents ought to be living their Catholic faith as fully as possible by: being married in the church (if possible); attending Mass regularly on Sundays; receiving the Eucharist regularly (if possible); and praying in the home.

Spiritual disposition of godparents

Catholic godparents ought to be living their Catholic faith as fully as possible by: having received all Sacraments of Initiation; being married in the church (if possible); attending Mass regularly on Sundays; receiving the Eucharist regularly (if possible); and praying in the home.