BAPTISM of Infants
For information regarding BAPTISM of children over age seven 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?
- 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 for Adults enjoys meeting new parishioners and first time parents. She 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.
- Preparation sessions are available once a month for first time parents who will have 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. To schedule a session contact the Baptismal Catechist listed on the Dates of BAPTISM.
- Registration for Baptism Form: One form for each child is to be completed at least two 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, fax, 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 to 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 Sunday afternoon once a month. The Dates of BAPTISM delineates baptismal dates for the next several months.
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 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
- Have received BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, and EUCHARIST
- 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 two weeks prior to the requested baptismal date. Simply have the godparent contact his or her parish to obtain a letter and have the letter forwarded to ST. MARK.
What if I have been asked to be a Godparent? To request a Godparent Eligibility Letter or Certificate contact the Parish Secretary Crystal Sheehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-281-9100. Please plan to allow at least three weeks for completion. You will be notified when the letter is complete to come pick up your letter at 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 allow 2-3 weeks in advance for a letter to be drafted, signed, and sealed by the Pastor and mailed to the parish of delegation.