Baptism: Becoming a member of the Body of Christ

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:38).

What is baptism?

Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments – the start to becoming a full member of the Church. By baptism we become members of the Church, the Body of Christ.

To become baptized is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who asked His friend, John the Baptist, to baptize him in the banks of the Jordan River before starting His public life. Jesus did not need this purification, but did so to show solidarity with His people and bring them closer to His Father.

Baptism is intended to wash away original sin (and all sin) and is performed by an ordained minister who uses water saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”


There are several steps for baptism in the Catholic Church including education classes and proper documentation. Typical forms include a child’s birth certificate or decree of adoption, proof of parish membership (or permission from the parish to which you belong) and the name of at least one practicing Catholic to serve as godparent. To get baptized, find a parish near you:


No. Adults who wish to join the Catholic faith can complete the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) and can be baptized. Learn more here.

No. Only one parent must be an active practicing Catholic, keeping in mind that parent vows to be responsible for raising their child in the Catholic faith.

No. Baptism is administered only one time to wash away original sin, offer sanctifying grace and impart a supernatural character upon the soul that brings them into the Christian family and is the first step to becoming a disciple of Jesus. If you seek repentance for sins after baptism, refer to the sacrament of penance (also called confession or reconciliation).

Yes, you are permitted to request baptism for your child even if you are not yet a Catholic. Church law states, “For the licit baptism of an infant it is necessary that: 1) the parents or at least one of them or the person who lawfully takes their place gives consent; 2) there be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such a hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be put off according to the prescriptions of particular law and the parents are to be informed of the reason.”

Your consent and the presence of a founded hope that the child will be raised Catholic are what is necessary for the baptism to take place. To establish there is a founded hope of the child’s being raised Catholic, the priest you talk to will question and advise you.

Yes. Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Those with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges deserve access to faith formation according to their capabilities. Click here for more information.

While only one is required, you may have two (one male, one female). Only one has to be a practicing Catholic. The other may be a practicing non-Catholic Christian.

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