Baptism at Old St. Mary’s Church

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 [children] 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 and the word.

©Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1

We are excited to help you with the baptism of your child. Baptism brings new life into the Church and the parish. Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help you. If we did not address your specific question, please contact Maryellen Harrington at She will be able to assist you.


Frequently asked questions

1. How do I get my child Baptized?

To request baptism of your child(ren) at Old St. Mary’s, please fill out this form. Baptism Preparation Class – Baptism Old St. Mary’s

Baptism preparation sessions which prepare parents and extended family for the celebration of a baptism are taking place online via Zoom. The sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 PM.

Maryellen Harrington will contact you about this required class for parents.   Please be aware, it is not necessary to wait until your child is born to attend the class.

2. Can I attend the Baptism preparation class if I am not requesting my child be baptized at Old St. Mary’s?

Yes. If you are requesting this class for baptism elsewhere, please complete this form Baptism Preparation Class – Baptism Elsewhere. There is a fee of $25 for the class. Checks should be made payable to Old St. Mary’s or you can pay online through Pushpay at In the drop down menu under Fund, select Baptism Fees.

3. Where and when do Baptisms take place?

Celebrations of Baptism are not held in the context of the Mass at this time due to the pandemic. All baptisms are conducted as private celebrations on Sunday afternoons. Similar procedures conducted at Sunday Mass apply to Baptism Celebrations during the pandemic.

The instructions will be provided to parents upon scheduling the date of the Baptism.

Because many families will have Godparents, Grandparents and extended family who will  not be able to be present in person due to the pandemic, all baptisms will be livestreamed for the benefit of those who cannot be present in person.

4. Can I schedule a private baptism or a date other than the regular schedule?

At this time all baptisms are private since they are not celebrated in the context of a Mass.

5. We have a new baby. We attended the Baptism Preparation Class at Old St. Mary’s when our older child was baptized. Do we need to attend the class again?

If it has been longer than 2 years since the date you attended the Baptism Preparation Class you will probably need to repeat it.  Please complete this form Baptism Preparation Class – Baptism Old St. Mary’s. Once she reviews your information Maryellen Harrington will contact you regarding the need to attend another class and scheduling a date for the Baptism of your child.

6. Who can be a Godparent?

Because of the importance of their role, baptismal godparents must be:

• Fully initiated Catholics (that is, they must have received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist),
• Be at least 16 years of age,
• Be practicing Catholics who lead a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken,
• If married, they should have been married in a Catholic ceremony. (The Code of Canon Law, c.874).

When choosing a godparent for your child, it may be helpful to consider the following:

• Is this person actively practicing his or her faith? Does he or she worship at Sunday Eucharist regularly? (This is the most important question to ask. If the person selected is not an active, practicing Catholic, he or she will not be able to fulfill effectively the role of godparent.)
• Does this person live close enough, or will this person have sufficiently frequent contact, to get to know your child and play an active role in your child’s faith life?
• Does this person know enough about the Catholic Church and Catholic faith to be able to teach your child about it?
• If something happened to you, would this person make sure your child was raised as an active member of the Catholic Community?

7. How many people can I name as Godparents for my child?

Only one godparent is required. However, if you wish two individuals to serve as godparents, one must be male and one female.

We understand, for a variety of reasons, new parents want to name multiple individuals as Godparents. Please know that if you desire to have multiple individuals serve as Godparents, only 2 names will be shown on the certificate, one male and one female. If multiple individuals are of the same sex, only 1 name will be shown on the certificate.

8. Can a non-Catholic be a Godparent?

A baptized non-Catholic is not eligible to serve as a baptismal godparent. However, he or she may serve as a Christian witness. The Christian witness participates in the celebration and stands alongside the godparent during the baptismal ceremony.

9. What if a Godparent cannot come to the actual celebration?

If a godparent is not able to be present, that godparent may request a proxy to stand in his/her place.

10. Can my child be baptized if my spouse and I were not married in the Church?

Parents who present a child for baptism should be active in the practice of their faith.
Your marriage is a tremendous example to your children. If you were married outside the Church, please speak to one of our Priests to have your marriage validated/blessed by the Church.

11. Who do I contact to obtain permission to schedule a baptism at Old St. Mary’s to be performed by a priest who is a relative/friend of the family?

If the priest is a priest in good standing with the Archdiocese of Chicago, then there is no additional paperwork. Please contact one of the priests to check date availability and make the arrangements for use of the Church.

If the priest is from another diocese, the process of approval could take a little longer as there are forms that need to go to the Archdiocese for approval before a priest outside the diocese can baptize within the Archdiocese of Chicago at Old St. Mary’s.

12. Is there a cost to have your child baptized?

It is traditional to give a stipend to the Church of $50-$100 according to one’s means for baptisms that take place at Old St. Mary’s.

13. Do Godparents need to take the Baptism class?

Although we do not require that godparents attend this class, we are happy to welcome godparents who need this class for baptisms elsewhere. Please complete this form Baptism Preparation Class – For Godparents. There is a fee of $25 payable at the time of the class. Checks should be made payable to Old St. Mary’s or you can pay online through Pushpay at In the drop down menu under Fund, select Baptism Fees.

14. I have been asked to be a Godparent? Is there anything I need to do?

Contact the parish where the baptism will take place and ask what their requirements are. If you need to take a baptism class, you are welcome to attend Old St. Mary’s class on the first Wednesday of each month. Please complete this form Baptism Preparation Class – For Godparents.  Maryellen Harrington will contact you and provide you with the Zoom link. There is a fee of $25 payable at the time of the class. Checks should be made payable to Old St. Mary’s or you can pay online through Pushpay at In the drop down menu under Fund select Baptism Fees.

If there is paperwork that needs to be filled out by the pastor or his delegate, affirming that you have received all your sacraments and/or that you are a parishioner of Old St. Mary’s, please complete the Godparent/Sponsor Certificate Request Form. Click here to go to the form: Godparent/Sponsor Letter Form Request

15. I am an adult. What do I need to do if I want to be baptized?

The process for baptism for adults is through the Rite of Initiation for Adults (RCIA). You can find out more by visiting our
RCIA page.

16. If I am a registered parishioner at another Church, can my child be baptized at Old St. Mary’s.

If you are a registered parishioner at another Church, we will need an official letter granting permission for your child to be baptized outside of your own parish.

17. How early do I need to arrive on the day of the Baptism?

We request that parents, the child and Godparents arrive at least 20 minutes before the time the Baptism is to take place. In considering your travel time, please allow for traffic congestion because of football games in the fall, summer activities, and weather conditions. Someone will greet you and take you through any protocols that must be followed during the pandemic.