What are the requirements for baptism?
For a child to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, there must be a basis for hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. In practice, this generally means that at least one parent is Catholic. St. Michael’s Church, Sharjah, require parents to participate in Baptism preparation before the baptism of their children; we offer a baptism preparation session here at St. Francis of Asissi Chapel every second Monday of every month from 8.00pm to 9.00pm. Each child brought forward for baptism must also have at least one/two godparent who is confirmed, practicing Catholic age 18 or older.
What about parents who are not married in the church?
Parents who not married in the Roman Catholic Church might consider the possibility of having your marriage convalidated in the church; parish staff will gladly assist you in that process. It is must that your marriage should be rectified according to Catholic Rite before baptizing your child.
What are the requirements for godparents?
We hope that parents choose godparents who will take an active role in the faith formation of their child.
- The church requires at least one godparent who is practicing, confirmed Catholic age 18 or older. That godparent’s name is entered into the parish record book as the “official” godparent or sponsor for baptism.
- If you choose more than two godparents, one or two may have their names entered into the book as “official” godparents, and the others can be “honorary” godparents. You don’t have to tell them which is which. All the godparents’ personal relationship to the child and to you as a family is the same whether their names are recorded in the book or not.
- If you choose two godparents of the same sex, one can be the “official” godparent for the record book, and the other can be the “honorary” one. (Just as above, you don’t have to tell anyone which is which except us.)
- Baptized Non- Catholic Christians may not be “official” godparents for the record book, but they may be Christian witnesses for your child.
- People who are not baptized Christians cannot be sponsors for baptism, since they themselves are not baptized. However, you may certainly invite Non- Christians friends or relatives to attend the celebration and to have a special place in your child’s life, sharing with your child their own faith traditions.
Is there a fee?
No fee is required for the Sacrament of Baptism, but we suggest an offering of love, if that feels right to you. Many parents like to make a “thanksgiving offering” at the time of the child’s baptism. Their generous contributions help the parish charitable work. The offering goes to St. Michael’s Church, not to the celebrant of the Sacrament.
However, a sum of Dhs. 25/- per child is collected at the beginning of the Seminar, as registration fees towards the Baptism Preparation Seminar.
Can we have the baptism celebrated in another church but do the preparation here?
That can certainly be done; it just calls for a little simple paperwork, primarily from the parish office. Be sure to check with the other parish for their requirements, and let us know the other parish’s mailing address so we can send the official letter (it states that you have participated in preparation and we offer jurisdiction for the baptism to be celebrated elsewhere). Please let us know the baby’s name, gender, date of birth and date of baptism, so we can add it to your family’s records here at St. Michael's Catholic Church, Sharjah.
What happens during the preparation sessions?
We invite both parents and godparents to attend and to bring the baby with them. The sessions are designed to help you reflect spiritually on being new parents and how this great change has affected your own relationship with God. We also reflect together on the faith you desire for your child. It is a great way to meet other parents in the parish and to answer any questions you may have. We will discuss the theology of the sacrament of baptism, as well as practical aspects of the ceremony itself.
What should the baby wear for the baptism?
A white garment is an ancient sign of the newly baptized Christian’s new life in Christ. Your child’s baptismal garment need not be a traditional baptismal or christening gown; it can be any clothing that is mainly white.
What should parents bring for the baptism?
A white candle to receive the light of Christ, during the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism and the liturgy papers given during Baptism Preparation Course.
What are the documents required for the office record?
Parents should submit the following documents in the office before one week of baptism.
- Copy of Baptism Preparation Certificate of both Parents and godparents.
- Copy of Birth Certificate of the Child.
- Copy of Catholic Marriage Certificate
- Copy of Passport (both the parents)
- Original no objection letter from the concern parish priest for godparents in case of their domicile is not Sharjah.
What should the parents do after the baptism?
Parents should collect the Baptism Certificate from the parish office and bless their house as your child has received Christ and is accepted by the Catholic Church. Contact any of the priests for House blessing.
When will you receive the baptism certificate?
Shortly after the baptism, we will give to you one baptism certificate with the parents’ names, including the mother’s maiden name (as called for by church regulations). If your child ever needs a copy of the baptism certificate later, perhaps for school registration or for marriage, please contact the parish Priest.
NB: For further information kindly contact the parish office in person