The Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacraments of Christian Initiation lay the foundation for the entire Christian life, and the first of these is Baptism, which is the gateway to the life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the life of grace. Through Baptism we are freed from all sin and born again of water and the Holy Spirit as children of God. Through Baptism we are made a new creation, and we become members of Christ and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Baptisms at St. Thomas More

We extend a very warm word of welcome and congratulations to you during this wonderful time in the life of your family. The gift of God’s love is seen so beautifully reflected in the birth of your child. Through the sacrament of baptism, your child will share in the new life of Jesus. This union of love incorporates the person into the very death and resurrection of Jesus and so initiates the person into the Church, God’s Family. Your child is welcomed into the family of the Church and entrusted with the promise of eternal life. We share your joy and wish to offer our support and assistance in the great joy and challenge the sacrament of baptism brings.

General Presumption:

1.  It is our sincere hope that the parents who seek the sacrament of baptism for their child, are faithful to the weekend celebration of the Eucharist (Mass). Since this is a new beginning in the lives of families, we invite those who do not regularly attend the weekend Eucharist to make it a regular part of their lives.

 Making arrangements for the baptism:

1. Parents are asked to see the Pastor after the celebration of a weekend Mass. Parents may also contact our parish office at 508-673-7831 and speak with the parish secretary.

 2.  Families are required to be registered members of the parish to receive the sacrament of baptism. For those who are not, a letter of permission from their proper pastor is required.

Securing approved Sponsor(s)

1. For those seeking to be sponsors that belong to another parish, it is required that we have a recently dated sponsor certificate from their parish priest. Please note that a sponsor certificate is different than a baptism or confirmation certificate. A sponsor certificate specifically state that the person is approved to function as a sponsor.

 2. Those who belong to Saint Thomas More are asked to met with the Pastor after whatever Mass they normally attend on the weekend to secure a sponsor certificate.

 3. When either of these has been received or completed, the Baptism date may then be scheduled. Completed sponsor certificates are to be sent or dropped off at the parish office located in the rectory.


The introduction to the Rite of Baptism speaks about the role of a Sponsor,

 “In the baptism of children the godparent is to be present so as to represent the Church. The sponsor is to be ready to help the parents bring up their child to profess the faith and to show this by living it… Pastors are to see to it that the godparent, chosen by the family, is qualified to carry out his/her proper function”.

 Qualifications required to be a Sponsor (Godparent)

The selections of sponsors should be done with careful thought. The qualifications of sponsors are:

 1. They must be at least 16 year of age.

 2. They must have received all the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church. {A Catholic who has not been confirmed is not eligible to be a Sponsor/Godparent}

 3. They must attend weekend Mass on a regular basis and receive the sacraments of the Church.

4. If married, a person must have either celebrated their marriage or have it sanctioned by the Catholic Church. [A person who is divorced is eligible to be a sponsor so long as they fulfill the other qualifications listed above. A person who is divorced and has remarried outside the Catholic Church is not eligible to be a sponsor.]

 What is a Sponsor/Godparent, really?

The role of a Sponsor/Godparent is primarily that of being an example of the faith. In that regard Sponsors are personal representatives of the Church and are meant to reflect the community of faith to their godchild in the way that they live their lives. They are to assist and support the parents in their serious responsibility of teaching and handing on the faith to their child. Also in the event that the parents are no longer able to carry out this responsibility (i.e.; no longer practicing their faith) the Sponsor, to the extent possible, is expected to assume this role. This is how the Church envisions the role of a Sponsor/Godparent for the sacrament of baptism as well as for the sacrament of confirmation.

 Often times what the Church considers a Sponsor/Godparent to be and how people see that role are not only different, but at times they are at odds with each other. For example, many people see this as simply a role of honor/prestige to be granted to certain family member or friends. Others see it as entrusting their “foster-care” of their child to someone, in the event that something “should happen to them”. In both instances we have a misunderstanding of what the role of a Sponsor/Godparent is meant to be.

 If the primary role of a Sponsor/Godparent is to be an example of the faith, than certainly the first question one should ask is who can fulfill that role?  Who is someone that has their faith as a priority in their lives? Who makes the celebration of the Eucharist on the weekend a regular priority in their lives? Who struggles to live their faith during the course of the week? Given all of these questions who will be best for our child as a Sponsor/Godparent? Who do we think will commit themselves to being present to our child as he/she grows up? These are the types of questions that the Church envisions us asking when selecting Sponsors/Godparents.

 Sponsor designation and approval

Those whom you select as Sponsors are required to be approved by the Church in order to be officially designated as a Sponsor/Godparent 

The parish of the one seeking to be a Sponsor

Please remember that the person seeking to be a sponsor is to approach their parish for a sponsor certificate. This means the parish they are presently attending (i.e.; where they go to Mass each week) and not where they received a Sacrament some years back. Many people find this confusing but please remember receiving a Sacrament in any church does NOT constitute membership. Anyone can receive a sacrament in any parish, but it is the person’s present participation that is at issue.

 Please remember that it is the responsibility of the parents to communicate to those they select as sponsors the following:

 1.  The qualifications required by the Church to be a Sponsor/Godparent.

 2.  The process of obtaining a sponsor certificate     in order to be approved by the Church as    Sponsor/Godparent.

 What is a Christian Witness?

The Church requires that there be one approved sponsor for the celebration of either baptism or confirmation. However, it has become a traditional practice to have two sponsors (a male and a female) at baptism, commonly referred to as Godparents.

 If there is a couple that you would like to have as the godparents of your child, even though one person is a non-Catholic, it may be possible. Provided that there is one approved Catholic Sponsor, the other Godparent may be considered as a Christian Witness. It is only required that they be baptized Christians and will be designated as a “witness” to the Sacrament. There will be no distinction made during the celebration of the Sacrament and so both will be seen as Godparents. Please Note: A non-Baptized person is not eligible to be a Christian Witness.

 In conclusion

We hope this pamphlet has helped to explain some of the particulars involved in making arrangements to have your child baptized. We very much look forward to celebrating this very special gift with you and your child. May God bless you and your family in His great love and mercy!