Catholic Baptism What to Do

Updated on January 19, 2011
T. asks from Tucson, AZ
15 answers

My girls 2 and 7 are getting baptised in the catholic church. I am not catholic, but my husband is and i also attend church with them. We did the baptism class and are ready for baptism. Are we supose to invite people? Have a party afterwards? What goes on durring and after a catholic baptism?

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So What Happened?

I wanted to Thank You for all the great responses and respond to some. So i guess we will do a barbeque and have everyone who attends over to our house. Since everyone is comming from out of town, i think its nice anyways. We actually don't know many people of the catholic religion besides my husbands mothers family. My husband has chosen godparents although they don't even live in the same state. Which i think is silly, but like i said we dont know any practicing catholics where we live (that are close to our family anyways). My 7 yr has been given the choice to be baptised. She wants to do it and has been attending sunday school for over 2 yrs now and will also do her confirmation this year. My 2 yr old wont know the difference but it means a lot to my husband and his family to baptise her. So i'm not going to fight it. I believe in God, i just don't believe in specific religions. I don't want to be catholic, but will attend the church with my famil.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Invite very close family friends and family to let them know of the occassion, time, place etc. You can choose to have a gathering afterwards, but it is not mandatory. I had a friend in the same scenario where her son was getting baptized-I believe he was 2 and her husband was Catholic and she was not. Only close friends and family were invited and they did a small luncheon at their house afterwards. I suppose it depends on the date/day and time as to what you do but it is a special occasion to be celebrated by the ones closest to you.

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answers from San Francisco on

A Catholic baptism is the welcome into the church. It is not only welcoming the baby into the faith but asking the parents to commit to raising their children Catholic and attending church on a weekly basis.

Each family celebrates this occasion in their own way. We always invite all of our friends and family and throw a big party afterwards.

Your children should wear white. During the ceremony, there will be reference to the meaning of this color. Call the church ahead and ask if they are expecting you to bring a candle or if they will provide one.

At our parish, the baptism is divided into two ceremonies. The Rite of Welcoming and the actual baptism. The parish explains that the Rite of Welcoming is really for the parish members to welcome their newest member and the baptism is for your celebration and to complete the sacrament. By this time, you should have chosen friends or family to be the godparents. Ideally, these individuals should be practicing Catholics and good examples of having faith.

Your children will be annointed with oil and water. Usually the priest will provide time for pictures to be taken.

This is a very special occasion. Dads are usually in suits and mothers dressed up. Congratulations!

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answers from New York on

First off Pamela, Raven and more2go response was completley uneccesary and not revelant to your question. I'm sure you and your husband have not taken lightly the baptism of your children. That being said I grew up a catholic (in process of becoming a presbyterian) and have Many catholic friends. Most send out nice invitations and invite to the church and usually a reception of some sorts. Some guests may choose not to attend the ceremony but will celebrate at the reception with you. I believe at most churches they incorporate the baptism in with the mass/service or do it shortly after. That way guests of yours as well as congregation members can attend. You can decide to keep a celebration as large or as small as you like or choose to have none at all. There is no religious code that dictates that. The most important thing is the baptism itself.

Note: Pamela edited her response from a long winded Rant about her parents and the catholic church so that is why I stated what i did. I still am keeping that in my response because she messaged and said I was bitchy. If I was wrong in what I said you should have left it there instead of editing. Oh well.

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answers from Seattle on

We invited my family and a couple of close friends. Also, the godparents! Went to a friend's house afterwards and had a barbque to celebrate. It was fun and low key. It's all up to you how you want to celebrate!

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answers from Chicago on

It's up to you. Most people invite family and close friends to something like that. With both of my kids, we had a family lunch at our house afterwards. But there's no standard protocol.

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answers from Dover on

I have attended four catholic baptisms and other than the service itself, they are very much like others.

The parents sent out invitations/notices of the baptisms and had a gathering/reception afterwards. Pictures are also taken during and after.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Most people invite immediate family and have a lunch after. It's a pretty important day for kids, especially in the Catholic church. It doesn't have to be a huge blow out party. Just a simple lunch would be fine. I would imagine that if your family (yours or his) are Catholic they will "expect" you to invite them and have a little reception after.

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answers from Chicago on

Yes -- invite family and close friends. You should be selecting godparents for each child as well. Our Archdiocese requires that at least 1 godparent for each child be a practicing catholic. Something to consider. You should then have a party for the girls after -- cake and whatever else you want. Most bakeries can make a cake with a lovely cross on it and say Congratulations. We did that for our first two -- now due to peanut allergies with kid #1, I will have to MAKE the baptism cake for kid fun. During the baptism the priest with wet their heads with holy water (unless they do a submersion or feet washing-- depending on the fountain available) and annoint their upper chests/possibly head with ointment. There will be a candle lit for each child, usually a white drape placed on their chests. The priest may deviate from some of the things because your kids are older -- but they are the basics. Our church requests a donation to the Church and priest for the service.

My sister and I were baptised Lutheran so when we converted to Catholicism at 7 and 10, we were NOT rebaptised. As long as you were baptised, the Catholic Church only recognizes the first baptism -- they do not rebaptize. We went through instruction and then did the 1st communion, continued with CCD, did confirmation, etc.

Best wishes to you and your family! Have you thought about going through instruction yourself through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation as an Adult)? My mom did it and then my parents got remarried in the Catholic Church when I was 13 (abought 3 years after I converted).

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answers from Albany on

Hi Tiphanie,
We had a small party (a few friends, mostly family) after all three of ours. I had cooked before mass, or I ordered some sandwiches, light fare, which was delivered to our house during mass. We do know many families who make it a HUGE production and rent a place and such, but that's not my style.
I DID send formal invites, however, all three times. And formal Thank You cards to all who attended. But we're only talking about 25 people or less.

It was a lovely happy occassion all three times.

Congratulations to you and your family!


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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi well it depends on how much you want to celebrate. I had a small party after each of my was baptized. I kept it small. Now when my oldest made his first communion that party was much bigger.
It is a big deal now your kids are considered Catholic.

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answers from Sacramento on

For my son's baptism, we invited people and then did a brunch afterwards. He was 10 months old, though, so it was our first chance to have a party :)

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answers from Detroit on

That is totally up to you how you would celebrate. You can just go to dinner with the grandparents and the godparents or have a huge gathering. Talk to your hubby and see what his side is expecting and see what you want to do. I don't usually make a big to do about most things but this one I did.

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answers from Wichita on

we invited family and had a little party with cake afterwards. At ours, it was right after mass at the baptismal font. All the kids getting baptized (there were 4 total) were there with their families, the priest did the little ceremony, poured the water and oil over their heads, then it was over. Afterwards we went back to our house for cake.

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answers from St. Louis on

my mom and dad invited close friends and family for my baptism (I was a baby when it happened). They had an after event too. It wasn't a big party. It was pretty much the people who went to the baptism. I found the bigger deal happened when we had the first communion and confirmation. But, really for the most the party just consisted of people who came to the actual event, which like I said was close friends and family.

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answers from Springfield on

I worked for the Catholic Church for 9 years (before having kids). If you have any questions about the actual baptism, what's going to happen, what you're supposed to do, etc., the priest or deacon really should be more than happy to answer those questions. The baptismal rite is the same everywhere (meaning the words and actions of the priest), but there is room to make it person and there are varieties that are specific to your church and situation. Please do feel free to talk to the priest or deacon. I'm sure you wouldn't be asking them anything they haven't heard before!

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