How to Proceed with a Catholic Baptism with No Family Nearby?

Updated on February 10, 2012
K.D. asks from Greenville, TX
16 answers

Has anyone been in my situation? We have moved from California to Texas and have had a child since we have moved to Texas. My husband and I were both born and raised in CA, and we moved out here for my husbands job and literally knew nobody when we came here. We have since settled in a bit, and have a few good friends, none of which are Catholic. There are some Catholic aquaintances that we have, but I am certainly not choosing someone to be my sons Godparent if we do not know them well! My daughter was born and baptized in CA while we lived there with family surrounding us. We chose my 2 aunts as Godparents for her at that time. I would like to choose them again, as they are wonderful people...but neither is in good enough shape health wise to make a trip out here right now. I just don't know what to do, this issue has been hanging over my head since my son was born and I feel HORRIBLE letting it go any longer..he is over a year old now! No rude commentary or judgement please, I feel terrible as it is. If you have kind advice to offer, please do. TIA

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your imput, I appreciate your time. Looks like we will just have to schedule the baptism for as soon as possible, and have my Catholic friends stand in for my Aunts. I am sure that they would be more than willing to do so. I will also find out from my parish what my Aunts will need to do at their parish to prepare for this. Thanks again :)

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

You can actually have a "proxy" stand in for your aunts at the Baptism. The actual Godparents would still need to do the Godparent preparation at their home parish and send verification to the parish doing the Baptism. They would be her official Godparents (on the certificate and in Church records), the proxy would just stand up with you at the ceremony.

We almost had to do this with my son because his Godparents lived out of town and we didn't know if they'd be able to make it. In the end, my best friend DID make it to the ceremony, so she was there and no proxy was needed.

Call the baptism coordinator at your new church. They'll help you out with all of this.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Hi K.-

As I recollect, you can have someone 'stand in' for the actual god parents...sort of a proxy.

Just ask your parish priest...and then ask if a non catholic friend could 'stand in'...I think your parish would allow this.

Best luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yes, you can have local Catholic acquaintances be proxies. When I was a teenager I stood in as the proxy Godmother for my mom's friend's baby. The actual Godmother was the baby's aunt who couldn't travel at the time.

Don't feel horrible, but do get the baptism done asap :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

why can't you make a trip back to CA for your son's baptism? It doesn't have to be done at your local church......

Oh, & our oldest son was 13 months old when he was baptized. It's a.o.k. to wait. My godson was 8 months old....due to health issues. & have you talked to your priest about how to handle this? I think you do have options. Peace Be With You....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I took RCIA, and later baptism classes. In both cases the Priest told us the best time to have the Baptism is when you can have the party... ;-). Meaning the most important thing as far as timing is concerned... is when you can have your family get together for it. Don't worry your child is a year old... just start the planning and make it happen as soon as you can do it.

I suggest you take a trip out to California... have the Baptism there where you baptized your first daughter (they probably won't make you take the class again since you've already done it there once)... and take the family out to lunch afterward... or have people back to the house of one of your relatives for a nice lunch.

Keep it simple... enjoy your family.

It may be pricey... but I consider it a "price of doing business" so to speak when you move away for a job. You need to figure in these type of expenses to "bring you back home" for the important occasions.

After all... look how much money you save on housing and fuel living in Texas!!! (I'm from California too... but moved to Texas as soon as I could!)

Best of luck to you all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would just travel back to CA for the baptism if you can. We were living in Massachusetts when DD was born but I wanted her baptized in Michigan where I was from and where all my family lives (including the godparents). My mother was able to make all the arrangements with the priest at our church. And DD was 9 months already when she was baptized. Can you contact the church where you had your other child baptized and see what can be done?

BTW, my cousins asked me to be Godmother to their first-born but I could not be present at the baptism (living out of state, no time off from work for travel, etc.) - they had someone else stand in for me. It wasn't a big deal, as I recall.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

Ask the priest what your options are-the congregation will be the backdrop-lots of support there-and maybe a relative by way of skype?? A baby can be baptized without Godparents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

I believe you can have someone stand in for the Godparents. Talk to the priest to be sure. Then you can have the aunts you want and will be able to include some new friends too. You had 2 Godmothers? I never heard of that - I always had seen a man and woman do it. Learn something new everyday.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Yes, baptize him. Our daughter is 6 and not baptized and now if we don't get it done, she will have to take classes by 7 years old.

We have a similar issue, except most of our families no longer practice their Catholic faith. If you call your parish and explain your situation they may either suggest you proxy or ask them to assist you in finding Godparents.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Talk to the priest who will be doing the baptism. Having no Catholic Godparents handy isn't anything new. They will help you find someone or work something out. I do think you have to have one person present who is a baptized Catholic though. Just call the parish and take it from there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What does your priest suggest?
I'm not Catholic, but I think I would want Godparents that were young/healthy enough to travel and (God forbid) raise my kids if anything happened to us.
Just some food for thought, NO guilt intended!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you considered traveling back to CA for the baptism? I have been Godmother to a niece, who lives 400 miles away and we were able to do the class locally and have the local church send the certificate of completion to the church where the service was being held. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

I was not raised Catholic, my family was Lutheran, but do the Godparents need to be present for the baptism to be named such? And, if these people are not in good health, are they approapriate to be named Godparents?



answers from Dallas on

I just wanted to wish you well and am happy that you found a solution and some peace about your son's baptism. I'm sure you will find support from your priest and fellow parishioners. I know it is hard to move and not have that family support. The important thing is his baptism and I'm sure it will all work out. Blessings to you and your family.



answers from Detroit on

You could fly back and have the same God paternal. But do you godparents that your child will never see?



answers from Albuquerque on

Have the baptism during a regular church service at your church (they probably do it once a month or something, right) and inform the priests in advance that the godparents can't be there. The priests will tell you how to handle the situation - you might have a deacon stand in or something like that.

But I guess what I don't get is why do you feel horrible about this? Is there something we're missing?

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