During the Baptismal Rite, parents first ask the Church for Baptism and then make the sign of the Cross on the child’s forehead, claiming the child for Christ. Next, they publicly acknowledge that, in asking for their child to be Baptized, they are accepting the responsibility of training the child in the practice of the faith. The Church teaches that there must be a well-founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic faith. They reject Satan, all his evil works and empty promises, and profess their faith in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church and what the Church teaches. The parents and godparents profess faith on behalf of the child to be Baptized since the child is yet unable to profess it him- or herself. These actions before God and others are immense and must be done not just with the lips but with life itself. The parents and godparents then have the responsibility of sharing and witnessing to the child the faith which they have professed on the child’s behalf so that in time the child may accept it as his or her own.
A non-Catholic parent does not need to make the profession of faith during the Baptism if he or she does not share the Catholic faith. However, this parent, in requesting Baptism for the child, must give permission for the child to be instructed and raised in the faith of the Church in which the child is Baptized.
Parents should look over the Reflection paper in preparation for a child’s Baptism to help them reflect on the role they accept in asking for their child to be Baptized. Parents should also look over the Rite of Baptism for Children, to become familiar with the structure of the rite and the responses they must make.
Parents who are asking for Baptism for a child for the first time are required to attend a short preparation meeting with a member of the parish staff to talk over the nature of the Baptismal Rite as well as the role of parents in raising children in the profession and practice of the Catholic faith.