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Who may be a Sponsor(Godparent)?
The Church requires that each child to be baptized has at least one sponsor. A sponsor is a model of Catholic life to a young child as he/she grows into adulthood. The following are the requirements for sponsors
- They must have received the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation – in the Catholic Church.
- They must be at least 16 years of age, to fulfill their responsibilities.
- They must obtain a Sponsor Certificate from the parish where they are members.
- Baptized, practicing Christians of other denominations may not serve as sponsors because they are not members of the Catholic Church into which the child is to be initiated. They may serve, however, as a Christian Witness and be so designated in the Baptismal Register.
The Desire for Baptism Among Parents
The desire for Baptism for a child must be accompanied by the very serious commitment to raise the child within a faith community of believers and to educate them in the truths of the Catholic Faith. It is presumed that a central part of this commitment and education is a regular attendance at the parish Sunday Eucharist.
Baptism is Only the Beginning
The Church chooses to baptize babies and children when it is sure that the life and example of the parents/guardians will support, strengthen and bring to maturity the Christian life begun at Baptism.
The Baptism Rite for children clearly emphasizes the importance of the parental responsibility in making a personal and firm commitment.
The Preparation Process in our Parish
The preparation in our parish consists of the following stages:
- appointment with a priest
- two orientation meetings
- an enrollment ceremony
Parents of infants and/or young children may begin preparation during the time of the mother’s pregnancy, if they so wish. To begin preparation, please phone the parish office at (727) 595-4610.
The Orientation Meetings
These meetings are held on the second and third Thursday of the month. It is recommended that both parents attend each meeting. Sponsors (godparents) are also encouraged to attend.
The first meeting will give the parents an opportunity to meet with other families, to understand the community aspect of a Baptismal commitment and to reflect on the symbols of Baptism.
The second gathering will focus on the meaning and responsibility of Baptism, explore different ways of forming a faith-filled home, and review the Rites of Enrollment and Baptism.
The Enrollment Ceremony
As an opportunity for the parish to celebrate the gift of new life with the child’s parents and to support them with their prayers and good example.
To officially welcome the child who is to be baptized.
It is recommended that the sponsors (godparents) attend the enrollment ceremony.
When are Baptisms Celebrated?
Here at St. Jerome, the Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated on the last Sunday of each month, (except during Lent), after the 9 AM Mass, in the Chapel. Since Lent is a preparation time for Baptism, Baptisms are not normally celebrated between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday.