BAPTISM of Infants

For information regarding BAPTISM of children over age six or adults click here.

We welcome your child at ST. MARK! Having a little one join your family brings with it lots of joy as well as many new opportunities for growth. To assist you in helping your child grow in faith and in celebrating the joyous occasion of your child’s BAPTISM some preparations will be helpful.

What Are the Necessary Preparations for Baptizing Children Age Six or Younger?

  • Meeting with the Director of Religious Education; if you are new to the parish or seeking BAPTISM for your first child you may want to become better acquainted with a member of the Pastoral Staff. ST. MARK is a large parish serving 10,000 parishioners, and the Director of Religious Education enjoys meeting new parishioners and first-time parents. He is able to get to know parents prior to their child celebrating the Sacrament of BAPTISM and is available to address any specific questions or concerns. To schedule an appointment contact the Religious Education office at 703-938-1948 x1 and speak to Joe Flaherty.
  • Preparation sessions are available once a month for first-time parents to provide the opportunity to learn more about the meaning of the sacramental symbols as well as provide ways to grow in your own spirituality and learn how to pray with your child(ren). You are more than welcome to bring your child to the preparation session. Godparents are highly encouraged to attend also since they play an integral role in the sacramental ceremony itself and in the faith development of the child. Go here to see the Baptism Preparation Schedule.
  • Registration for Baptism Form: One form for each child is to be completed at least 2 weeks prior to the date you are requesting. This assures that all the necessary information is obtained for accurate church records. You may either e-mail, mail, or drop off the form to the office of Religious Education.
  • Procuring Godparent Eligibility Letters or Certificates for Godparents who are parishioners in a different parish other than ST. MARK (for this process see below). Letters or certificates should be received by mail at ST. MARK no later than 2 weeks prior to the date you are requesting.

When Do Baptisms Occur?

Infant BAPTISMS are celebrated as communal celebrations at ST. MARK. Just as your child is born or adopted into a particular family, a child is baptized into a specific faith community where he or she can be surrounded by the love and support of the entire community’s prayer and example. Therefore, BAPTISMS are celebrated with other families and members of the community either within the context of the regular Sunday Masses or on a Saturday afternoon once a month. Contact the Director of Religious Education to schedule a BAPTISM at  703-938-1948 x1.  Go here to see the Baptism Schedule.

Who Can be Godparents? 

Godparents play an important role not only in the celebration of the Sacrament of BAPTISM but in the life of your child as well. They represent the larger Christian community who desire, like you, to have your child grow in wisdom, age, and grace.

They are witness to a committed relationship with Jesus lived through prayer, sacramental participation, and service towards their neighbor. Therefore, the Church states that at least one godparent must meet the requirements below:

  • At least 16 years of age and sufficiently mature
  • Someone other than the parent or legal guardian of the one being BAPTIZED
  • If married, their marriage is recognized by the Church
  • Participate in the life of their parish community through frequent reception of the sacraments
  • Live a life of moral commitment in loving service to others

Being a Sponsor or Godparent provides a more in-depth historical context of the explanation of these requirements.

What if the Godparent is Not Catholic? Any baptized Christian can act as a Christian Witness. Because the Godparent or Christian Witness is modeling our belief in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, he or she will need to be a Christian. However, at least one Godparent must be Catholic.

What if the Godparent(s) is from Another Parish? If the godparent(s) is a member of another parish, an eligibility letter or certificate is required to be received at least 2 weeks prior to the requested baptismal date. Simply have the Godparent contact his or her parish to request a letter of eligibility and have the letter forwarded to the attention of DRE – Baptism at ST. MARK. 

What if I Have Been Asked to be a Godparent? To request a Godparent Eligibility Letter or Certificate contact the Parish Secretary, Stacey Ashman, at 703-281-9100. Please plan to allow at least 3 weeks for completion. You will be notified when the letter is ready to be picked up in the Parish Office.

Having Your Child Baptized in Another Parish Upon completion of the necessary preparations, a delegation letter will be drafted on your behalf and mailed to the parish where your child will be baptized. Please plan to allow 2-3 weeks for a letter to be drafted, signed, and sealed by the Pastor and mailed to the parish of delegation.



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