When should I have my child baptized?
We encourage parents to baptize their child within the first few weeks after they’re born. We do, however, ask parents to attend a baptism preparation class before presenting their child for this sacrament. We want to ensure parents understand the sacrament and their roles in raising the child in their Catholic faith.
Even if your child was not baptized as an infant (or before the age of reason – about 7 years old), we would love to help you provide your child the graces God grants through the sacrament of Baptism.
What if my child is older than 7 years of age?
No problem – we can provide a personalized plan to prepare your child for baptism. Contact Elaine McCollum, our Associate Director of Family and Children’s Ministry, at email@example.com or 404-267-3692 to get started.
Do both parents have to be Catholic?
No, the Church only requires that one parent be an actively practicing Catholic. The Catholic parent is required to “make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.” The spouse of a different faith needs to be clearly informed about that promise.
What if the parents of the child are not married?
That won’t impact your child’s eligibility to be baptized. We do encourage you to pursue a sacramental marriage! Contact Kathleen Swann at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more.
What if we were not married in the Catholic Church?
That won’t impact your child’s eligibility to be baptized. We do encourage you to pursue having your marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church! Contact Kathleen Swann at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more.
Preparing for Baptism
Do I need to be a member of the Cathedral?
We ask that you be a registered and “active member” of a Catholic parish.
What’s an “active member”?
An active member, as defined by the Archdiocese of Atlanta, is registered with a parish, attends Mass on a regular basis, supports the parish through the consistent giving of time, talent, and financial resources in support of your parish, and receives regular mailings and communications from the parish. For Christ the King members, we ask that you be a registered member for at least three months prior to scheduling the baptism.
Register as a parishioner of Christ the King
If you are registered and active members at another parish
You have to submit a “letter of permission” from your pastor which 1) states that you are registered, active parishioners at that parish and 2) gives permission for the baptism to occur at Christ the King. (Code of Canon Law: Can 857- §2). You’ll provide this letter when you are scheduling the baptism.
Does it cost anything to have my child baptized?
Cathedral parishioners are not charged a fee for baptism. It is customary to give a gift (stipend) to the celebrant of baptism. The amount is at your discretion.
Families who aren’t parishioners at the Cathedral will only be able to participate in a private baptism, and a chapel rental fee will apply.
What are the steps to have my child baptized?
Step 1) Be registered and active members at a Catholic parish
Step 2) Attend a baptism preparation class within the past 5 years.
Step 3) Schedule your baptism on an available date
Learn more about these three steps
What if I have already taken a Baptism preparation class?
If you’ve taken a class at CTK or another parish in the last five years, or baptized a child in the last five years, you’re all set. You don’t need to take another class.
How are baptisms scheduled? Where and when are they held?
We schedule baptisms after parents have completed the Baptism Class. There are two styles of baptism to select from:
A) a private baptism on Saturday mornings in the d’Youville Chapel, or
B) a community baptism (with 2-5 families) in the Cathedral. These are scheduled at 9:30 AM on a Saturday, once or twice each month.
Is nursery available for the Baptism preparation class?
We don’t currently have a nursery available.
What if I want a visiting priest or deacon to perform the baptism?
We can help arrange that. Be sure to tell us about that when you are scheduling the baptism. If the priest/deacon is from somewhere besides the Archdiocese of Atlanta, he’ll need to obtain a “Statement of Ordinary” from his diocese. If he is from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, he will need to notify Monsignor McNamee of the request.
How many godparents may I have?
Only one is required, but you can choose up to two godparents, one godfather and one godmother. If you have just one, he/she must be an actively practicing Catholic (see the Church’s requirements below). In addition to the minimum of one Catholic godparent, the Church does allow for a baptized Christian to stand in along with the Catholic godparent. They would then be called a “Christian Witness.”
What are the requirements for being a godparent?
The Catholic Church’s Canon Law (872-874) says that at least one godparent must be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church and:
■ At least 16 years of age
■ Received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation
■ If married, it must be a valid sacramental marriage
■ Not be bound by canonical penalties
■ Not be the father or mother of the child to be baptized.
The second godparent, if not Catholic, must be a baptized Christian; he/she is called a “witness.”
What if we don’t have a Catholic family or friend available to be a godparent?
Don’t worry, we can help identify an actively, practicing Catholic who can step forward as godparent. Contact Elaine McCullum at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What if a godparent is unable to be at the baptism?
Back to canon law, it requires that a Catholic adult be present at the baptism ceremony. You and the godparents can designate (in writing) someone to be a proxy for the absentee godparent. If you know beforehand, please notify us of the proxy’s name! If it happens the day of the baptism, be sure to notify the priest/deacon – they have to note it on the documentation.
Can I change the godparents later?
If the godparent(s) don’t follow through in this spiritual relationship, you can definitely decide to engage other family or friends to support you and your child in this role. However, godparents listed in the official baptism register can never be changed since they were the historical witnesses to the baptism and entered into a permanent spiritual relationship with the baptized.
What should my child wear for their baptism?
A white garment is traditional, signifying the cleansing received in the waters of Baptism and the purity of beginning a new life in Christ. You may wish to change your child into this garment once you’ve arrived for the baptism. Allow extra time for this!
What should parents and godparents wear for the baptism?
You may want to dress as you would for a special family celebration. We ask that family and friends dress in a way that’s respectful of the sacred space.
What do I need to bring to my child’s baptism?
If you haven’t submitted eligibility letter(s) for the Catholic godparent(s) registered at another parish, please bring these letter(s) to the baptism. We’ll take care of all of the sacramental needs, like the baptism candle.
What time should we arrive?
Arrive at least 15 minutes before the baptism to allow for parking and getting situated in the Cathedral or chapel.
Where do we park?
The parking deck is across from the Cathedral, at the corner of Peachtree Road and Peachtree Way. It may be accessed from both streets.
Is there elevator access?
Yes! For baptisms in the Cathedral, we recommend parking on the Plaza and entering the church via our ramp at the main entrance. There is also an elevator accessible if you enter through the front office. For baptisms in the D’Youville Chapel, which is located in our school, you’ll find an elevator immediately on entering the school.
How long is the Rite of Baptism?
Community baptisms in the Cathedral last approximately 45 minutes. Private baptisms in the d’Youville Chapel last 30-45 minutes.
May we take pictures during the baptism?
Yes! You may also take pictures afterward. We just ask that photographers be respectful of the sacred space and reverent for the occasion.
What will I need to say during the Baptism?
We’ll provide a handout, “Rite of Baptism and Renunciation of Sin,” in your Baptism Preparation class that has that info. If you do not have it, don’t worry – the priest/deacon will help prompt you.