17630 Virginia Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21740                              Email: StJoe@ArchBalt.org                                                        Phone: (301) 797-9445                                                                                                                      

Baptism at St. Joseph Church

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Welcome to the St. Joseph Church Baptism Program

Welcome! We welcome your family on this joyous occasion of the celebration of your child’s/godchild’s baptism! We look forward to assisting your family in preparing for the baptism of your child. The baptism preparation session at St. Joseph’s is designed to provide the formation and information needed to fully understand the Sacrament of Baptism and your role as a Catholic parent/godparent.

This page is designed to provide you with some basic information about the preparation process and requirements. It will outline the parish’s approach to infant baptism. The first consideration is also the most important: making the decision to baptize your child and what this decision means to you.

Please contact the Parish Office to register for a baptismal preparation class that is required. Classes are typically held on the first Sunday of each month at 3:00 PM.

May the Lord continue to bless your lives with love and the assurance that this child will be held dearly in the palm of God’s hand!

​What are the requirements for parents?

  • At least one parent must be a practicing Catholic, who is committed to raising the child in the Catholic faith. A parent that is not Catholic has to express a willingness to help and create a home where a child will receive an environment to grow in faith as taught by the Catholic Church.
  • Attendance at a Baptism Formation Session is required before the child is baptized.
  • The family asking for their child to be baptized at St. Joseph’s has to be a registered member of our faith community or make arrangements with their home parish as well as St. Joseph's. If you are not registered you may register at the parish office 301-797-9445 before the process begins by filling out a Registration Form.

We invite you to contact us even before your child is born and to plan in advance.

What are the requirements for godparents (sponsors)?

Godparents are members of the Christian community who, by their lives and their faith, set a good example for the child whose initiation into this community they are sponsoring. Godparents may also support the parents in the upbringing of the child as a Catholic Christian. They should be able to stay in communication with the child as he or she is growing up.

  • As indicated above, the godparent promises to support and assist the parents in raising the child in the Catholic faith and be a mentor to the child in the Catholic faith.
  • Usually a child has two godparents, but only one is necessary.
  • Godparents must be at least 16 years of age, practicing Catholics, and have celebrated the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
  • It is possible for a non-Catholic person to be a witness as long as one godparent is Catholic.
  • Finding a godparent in some circumstances may be difficult. In such situation, we ask that parents speak to either the pastor or the baptismal team member who will be more than willing to assist in any way possible.
  • If godparent(s) cannot be present for your child’s baptism, you may choose others to stand in as proxies for the Baptism ceremony. Only the names of the chosen (actual) godparents will appear on the Baptism certificate.

When and where is the Baptism celebrated?

We encourage parents and godparents to celebrate the baptism of their children during Mass with the entire community of St. Joseph’s. As a parish family we look forward to being there with you at one Eucharistic celebration at this important moment in your life.

Baptism - together with Eucharist and Confirmation - is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is communal by nature. In some circumstances baptisms are celebrated outside of mass. If you wish to have your child receive baptism outside of Mass, we ask that you discuss your reasons with Fr. John or Fr. Juan. We do encourage you to plan ahead and in advance and be conscious of the fact that our parish mass schedule fills quickly. Many other events are celebrated during the year.

Above all we wish you to remember that Baptism is not an isolated event; it is an expression of your faith and a commitment on your part to raise your child in a Christian family and a Christian community. The focus is as much on you as it is on the child. Through the communal celebration of infant baptism, St. Joseph Parish expresses its joy in welcoming a new member as well as its commitment to provide support and community of faith for you and your child as you undertake the mission of living as a Christian family.

Please contact the parish office to begin your journey towards this joyous celebration.

Phone: 301-797-9445  Email: StJoe@archBalt.org