Times have changed. When my eldest child had her christening everything was a breeze. the Baptismal requirements for Catholics back then were not as many as what we have now. Just fill out church form, choose a date, pay a stipend, list down the names of the sponsors, and bam! you go to the church on your scheduled date, bring candles with pretty ribbons, and christening is done.
Two years after my eldest kid’s christening, one of my BFFs got me to be one of the god parents of her cute, adorable child S. She asked for a copy of my Baptismal Certificate because it is now required by the church. She also mentioned in passing that she chose the church she chose because it does not require god parents to attend a seminar. Did not gave it much thought, until now that I remembered making a blog post out of it.
So apparently now, there are new baptismal requirements for Catholic families like us.
So for you catholic readers, here are the Baptismal Requirements for Catholics in the Philippines:
1. Church – It would be better if you will have your child baptized in the Church that has jurisdiction over your residence. If not they will require you to ask for a clearance/endorsement from your parish church.
2. Schedule – Some churches require a couple of weeks’ lead time for the schedule of your child. In our parish it is encouraged to register/schedule the appointment around one month before. Even then, most weekends are already fully booked especially the individual christening schedules, so would be best to go four to six weeks before your intended date.
3. Individual or Group – It is cheaper of course to join a group baptism, but some families prefer an individual schedule.
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4. Payment – I cannot put in an amount here simply because churches have varied charges. Basically this will depend on how many sponsors/witnesses you have so the more ninongs and ninangs your child will have, the more you would have to shell out. The only guarantee our parish church has is that if and when you ABSOLUTELY have no money to spare for your child’s christening, they can do it for free, you will just have to wait for the mass baptismal schedule for that particular period of time. Of course it would be weird if you availed of this, and then during your party you’d have friends over for a drinking spree. I think this should be availed on an ‘honesty system’ basis.
5. Child’s Birth Certificate – Most parishes would like to have this as soon as you register for a christening date. They will just ask for a copy i think, not an NSO or CTC, but just the same bring your original copy, and have the photocopied one to submit. My parish’s requirement may be different from yours when it comes to documentation.
6. Parent’s Marriage Certificate – Parents should present a copy of their catholic marriage certificate. For those married under civil rites, as well as common law / live-in couple / single parents, you will be interviewed by the Parish Priest. OF COURSE THE CHURCH WILL NOT REFUSE TO BAPTIZE YOUR CHILD no matter what the circumstance is between you and or your partner.
Ninongs and Ninangs
7. Sponsor’s Catholic Baptismal or Confirmation Certificate – You just need a minimum of one pair for you to have a sponsor or ninong and ninang. Our Parish accepted the Baptismal Certificates of our BFFs. IF your chosen ninong or ninang does not have any of these, then she can still be a ninong or ninang to your child, but on paper, he or she will just be a “witness.” Only those with Baptismal Certificate and/or Confirmation certificate will be included in the Baptismal Certificate of the child.
IF the godparents you chose for your child are non-Catholics, they may still be godparents, but just like those without any requirement to present, they will just be ‘witnesses’ to the Christening. I am guessing of course that this is because being a God Parent also has a lot to do with religion and faith, so you should share the same belief as the God Parents of your child. I may be wrong though so ask your parish priest. *wink*
Also, it just came to my attention that some parishes have a maximum number of sponsors – five in the case of the parish of my friend. I am thinking if you have more than that number, they could still be ninongs and ninangs, but not just on paper.
8. Seminar – Parents and God parents are required to attend an at least two-hour parish seminar usually conducted on weekends to give way for working parents. Parents can choose which date to attend, as long as it is before the christening date. In our parish, this was fun and informative – basically about the sacraments, and the role of parents and god parents in the life of the child. I advise that you bring some light snacks and bottled water for your godparents because some could go for three hours, and there is no free snack
9. Celebration of the Actual Baptism – Make sure to be prompt, and would be great if you could be in church 15 minutes before the schedule.
10. Candles – Some parishes provide free candles. But if you would like to personalize your candles and wax catchers then by all means bring your own NO NEED FOR LIGHTERS OR MATCHES and you will know why during the seminar
11. Dress Code – No special dress or baptismal gown is required. All that you need is an all-white clothing for the baby and a white cap or mini veil. If you forgot about this, or do not have the budget for it, most churches will provide you with a white cloth to drape on your baby. There is a religious symbolism to it, I just forgot – sorry Father S. But of course no one will prevent you from having that really cool christening gown for your baby. After all this is a milestone event.
Of course parents, sponsors, witnesses and guests should abide by church dress code so no spaghetti straps, minis or micro minis, haltered dresses, and plunging and backless blouses or dresses for females, and no sandos, and shorts for males.
12. Photography and Video Coverage – Some churches do not allow too much photos and videos during the celebration, and that they just set a specific time for this. Just ask your parish about this upon registering your child for a christening appointment, so you will be informed of the guidelines.
So there you go mommies, hope you had an idea on what to prepare for the Christening Rites. I suggest that for busy mommies, prepare the requirements even before registering your child so you would not have to go back and forth to the parish, Have a couple of dates in mind too.
More important is what comes after – and no it is not the party. It is how we will raise our child to become a good Christian.
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