Sacrament of Baptism
We welcome and congratulate those families who wish to pass on the faith to their children through the Sacrament of Baptism. We are delighted to help you prepare for your child's baptism. Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Congratulations! We believe that every child is a precious gift of God. It is truly wonderful that you wish to share your faith with your child, for Jesus Himself said: “Let the children come to me.” As you begin bringing up your child in the Catholic Church, you undoubtedly have many questions and concerns. We would like to share with you the rich depth and beauty of what it means to be a Catholic parent.
The Children’s Baptism Sacrament Preparation Program is designed to help parents appreciate the religious significance and meaning behind the use of symbols during your child's Baptism ceremony. Our Baptism Ministry also share with parents, the rituals and traditions of the Catholic faith, and the responsibility and joy of being the first teachers of their children in matters of faith.
Baptism Preparation Classes: Baptism Preparation Class are offered once a month on Sunday morning beginning at 11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m. at the Family Life Center, Room 8, 9, 10, 11 & Youth Room. Please refer to Baptism Preparation and Baptism Schedule enclosed in the white Parent Baptismal Packet. Please call our Office of Faith Formation at 671-4434 to register for the class. Both parents and godparents are asked to attend the class.
Church Registration: We warmly welcome everyone to our parish family. Parents desiring baptism for their child are asked to please register in the Parish at least one month prior to the baptism.
Baptisms: Baptisms are celebrated in the Main Church following the 11:30 am Mass at 12:45 pm. Our Church is located at (10118 Saint Stephen Circle, Riverview, FL). We ask that you please be on time, and take into consideration that traffic on Boyette Road and Church parking can be quite hectic at times, especially on Sunday mornings. You will be received by our Baptism Coordinators who will warmly greet and welcome you and your families. Our Coordinator will help you with seating and answer any questions you may have.
Godparents: (please refer to godparent video below)
- Parents of the child(ren) for baptism may choose one or two godparents (male and female).
- The godparents chosen must be at least 16 years of age, already Confirmed, and regularly attend Sunday Mass, and take seriously the role and duties that she or he is undertaking.
- The godparent should be leading the life of faith in harmony with the teachings of the Catholic Church;
- If married, he or she have celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church.
- A baptized person belonging to a non-Catholic Christian denomination may be admitted as a Christian Witness to baptism, standing alongside a Catholic godparent.
- Someone other than the parent or legal guardian of the one being baptized.
Required Documents: Parents are asked to stop by the Office of Faith Formation to meet with our Director of Faith Formation. This give us an opportunity to welcome parents and children and go over required documents. Your Catholic Godparent will need a (Godparent Certificate of Eligibility) issued from their parish that attests to their qualifications as a godparent. If your godparents are members of St. Stephen, please be sure your godparents meet godparent requirements (requirements listed above). A Godparent Certificate of Eligibility Form will be provided. This form must be signed by our pastor and returned to the Office of Faith Formation. Please know all required forms are to be completed and submitted to the Office of Faith Formation two (2) weeks prior to the baptism of your child and/or children. The Parish Office hours are Monday through Thursday 8:30 - 4:00 pm and 8:30 - 12:00 on Friday.
Photography: We welcome Photography and Videography during and following the baptisms. We ask that the photographer and videographer respectfully stand in a location where he or she is not blocking or interfering with the ceremony. The Priest or Deacon celebrating the baptism will be more than happy to pose for photographs following the ceremony. Should you have any questions regarding photography, please do not hesitate to ask our Baptism Coordinators.
Dress: Usually, infants and small children are dressed in white when they celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism. White is a symbol of being baptized into Christ. If the child is wearing another color, a white bib or stole will be placed upon them at the appropriate time of the ceremony. Please let our Baptism Coordinator know in advance.
Offering: It is customary to give the Celebrant (Priest or Deacon) a stipend (donation) for baptisms. The amount is entirely up to you. The recommended amount is $25 to $50. An envelope for your convenience is provided in your parent baptismal packet. If you forget your envelope baptism day our Baptism Coordinator will be more than happy to provide one for you. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.