“Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213-1274

Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation. Through baptism, a person is cleansed of all sin, reborn, and sanctified in Christ through water and the Holy Spirit.

The Grace of Baptism:

For the forgiveness of sins: In those who have been reborn, nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1263).

“A new creature”: Baptism makes us an adopted child of God, giving us sanctifying grace through the Most Holy Trinity. This grace enables the baptized to believe in God, hope in him, and love him. It also allows them to grow in goodness through moral virtues.

Incorporated in the Church, the Body of Christ: From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1267).

The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians: Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who are incorporated into Christ have a right to be called Christians and, with good reason, are accepted as brothers and sisters by the children of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1271).

An indelible spiritual mark: Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark of his belonging to Christ. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity. No sin can ever erase this mark (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1272-1273).

Baptisms at St. Patrick Church of Merna are celebrated after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturdays and after the 11 a.m. Mass on Sundays. Please call the parish office at (309) 662-7361 to check availability and schedule your baptism.

Baptisms at St. Mary Church in Downs are celebrated after the 9 a.m. Mass on Sundays. Please call the parish office at (309) 662-7361 to check availability and schedule your baptism.

Baptism Classes: First-time parents are required to attend a one-time pre-baptismal preparation class. These classes are usually offered on the first Monday evening of each month. Information regarding sponsors, parent responsibilities, and an overview of the Rite of Baptism is given during these preparation classes. Please call the parish office at (309) 662-7361 for more information.

Non-Registered Families: If you are from out of town or not a registered family within either of our parishes, please provide the following documentation:

  • Letter of permission/proof of registration from your home parish
  • Proof of Pre-Baptism class (for first-time parents)

If you wish to ask a Priest or Deacon from another parish to officiate at the baptism, please contact your clergy first to confirm his willingness and availability. They will need to provide our parish office with a letter of permission to baptize.

At baptism, the godparent begins a life-long relationship with their godchild, praying for and supporting their godchild in faith, as well as providing an example of the Catholic faith in action.

You may choose one or two sponsors for your child. Only one is necessary. At least one sponsor must be an active, practicing Catholic. The other godparent may be a Christian of another denomination. If both godparents are Catholic, one should be male and one female.

The Catholic sponsor must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a practicing Catholic and a registered member of a parish
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation in the Catholic Church

The parish where your child is baptized will provide the baptismal candle, and a baptismal bib, as a symbolic gift from the parish. These are yours to keep as a reminder of this joyous milestone.

A Baptismal Certificate for your child will be handed to you following the baptism. Please note that the Baptismal Certificate will reflect the mother’s maiden (baptismal) name. Please keep the certificate in a safe place with other important documents for future reference.

We look forward to helping you plan your child’s baptism!

If you have any questions, please contact the parish office at 309-662-7361.