The Catholic Parishes in Waterloo welcome the opportunity to celebrate the baptism of infants and young children.
We believe that the baptism of infants and young children assumes the full and active participation of both the parents and the parish community in the faith formation of children. The nature of this shared responsibility is outlined in the Baptism Covenant which we ask parents to sign at the time of baptizing an infant or young child.
• Baptism Covenant
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Catholic parishes in Waterloo celebrate the sacrament of Baptism throughout the year, except during Lent and on weekends when other special events are scheduled.
Like all sacraments, Baptism is a celebration of the whole faith community and should take place in the presence of the parish community. For this reason, baptisms are usually celebrated during a regularly scheduled Saturday evening or Sunday morning Mass.
• To make arrangements for Baptism, contact the parish office in the parish where you are registered or register oneline here.
Expectations of Parents
At least one parent must be a baptized Catholic who is registered in the parish where the baptism will be celebrated. Catholic parents should attend Mass regularly and participate as fully as possible in the spiritual and sacramental life of the church. The parents’ personal and social life should exhibit an understanding of the Catholic faith and a commitment to Catholic moral and social values.
Parents should be aware of and willing to assume the responsibilities for their child’s religious formation which are outlined in the Baptism Covenant. They should be prepared to provide a nurturing family life in which children will see and experience Catholic faith and values in practice.
Catholic parents who are not active in the church might use the occasion of their child’s baptism to re-examine their relationship to the church and to consider the possibility of resuming active participation in the spiritual and sacramental life of the Catholic community.
• Any parish staff member would welcome the opportunity to discuss resuming active participation with a parent who feels unwelcome, alienated or angry.
The Catholic Church hopes that non-Catholic parents will understand and respect what the Church expects from Catholic parents, and will use the resources of their own faith tradition to assist in the faith formation of their children.
• Parents who have concerns or questions about how to raise their child in a home where parents have different faith traditions should visit with their pastor or a member of the parish staff.
Parents are required to attend a preparation class prior to baptizing an infant or child. Preparation classes meet on the second Monday evening of even months and the second Saturday morning of odd months at one of the Waterloo parishes.
Parents should attend the preparation class shortly before or after the baby is born. Parents may attend the class which is most convenient for them, even if it is not held in the parish where they are registered.
• To register for the preparation class, contact the parish office in your parish.
• Current schedule of Baptism Preparation Classes
• Online Registration for Baptism Preparation Classes
• Summary of Evaluations from Baptism Preparation Classes
Parent Formation and Education
The Catholic parishes in Waterloo provide continuing formation opportunities for parents who are interested in the spiritual and moral formation of infants and young children. Participation in this continuing formation program is recommended for parents following the baptism of their child.
• For information about continuing formation for parents, contact the Religious Education Office in your parish.
• Parenting information and resources
Children age 7 and under may be baptized at any time, provided at least one parent is a practicing Catholic, is a member of the one of the Waterloo parishes, and has attended a Baptism Preparation class. Children under age 7 should be enrolled in a Catholic religious education program or school before baptism.
Children age 8 or older should be enrolled in a separate preparation program or Children’s Initiation process, in addition to regular participation in a religious education program or Catholic school. The Children's Initiation process prepares older children for the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation (Confession), and/or First Communion. The Waterloo parishes provide a Children's Initiation program for older children each winter and, if necessary, can make other arrangements on an individual basis.
• For information about preparation for older children, contact the Religious Education Office.
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Godparents are technically called Baptism Sponsors. In the early church, sponsors served as witnesses who testified to the good intentions and worthiness of adults who were being baptized.
Today, Baptism Sponsors of infants and young children serve as representatives of the wider faith community. They pledge to assist the parents in showing and teaching the young child about God’s love, their faith as Catholic Christians, and their eternal destiny as children of God.
The Sponsor’s presence at the Baptism ceremony symbolizes an important spiritual and personal relationship between the Godparent, the child, the parents, and the broader church community. This is a relationship and a responsibility which lasts a lifetime.
At least one Godparent or Sponsor must be an active Catholic who has been baptized and confirmed, and is at least 16 years old. Other baptized Christians may serve as a Witness with a Catholic Sponsor.
It is customary to choose two Godparents or Sponsors, but only one is necessary. Godparents or Sponsors may be of either gender.
Here are some questions parents might ask themselves when choosing Baptism Sponsors for their child:
• Is this a person whose personal life shows the religious and moral
values I want my child to learn and practice?
• Is this a person who will be able and willing to explain their faith
experience, convictions and growth to my child?
• Is this a person who will be in frequent contact with my child, especially
during the early years of personal and spiritual growth?
• Is this a person who will be comfortable, when necessary, challenging
me or my child about our faith?
For more information about baptizing infants and children, contact the parish office in the parish where you are registered or plan to register.
• Download an information flyer for Godparents