Baptism How One Becomes a Christian

Preparing for Baptism

The origin of the word baptism is from the Greek baptein, “to dip” or “ to immerse.”

According to Saint Paul, baptism has three elements:

  1. It establishes a vital union with Christ in the saving events of His life, His death and His resurrection.
  2. It involves the reception of the Holy Spirit.
  3. It establishes the body of Christ, the assembly of Christians.

The New Testament does not provide a precise ritual for the celebration of baptism. The only constant element is water (i.e., Acts 8:36–38).

To request a copy of a baptism or marriage certificate contact Heather Craig, Basilica Archivist.


Baptism for Infants & Children age 6 and younger

Preparing to become Catholic

We welcome all parents. Birth and adoptive parents. Couples and single parents. Parents with infants and those with children already exploring the world. Parents whose faith is strong and those just beginning to make it their own. Families who share the same religious background and those who celebrate different religious traditions.

“Since the earliest of times baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptized into the faith of the Church. Entry into Christian life gives access to true freedom.” —Catechism of the Catholic Church #1282

To prepare for baptism, parents must:

  • Attend a virtual baptism preparation class held on Zoom. A preparation class is required once every five years.
  • At least one of the parents must be a registered member of The Basilica of Saint Mary.
  • If you are not a registered member of The Basilica, and are interested in having your child baptized here, please contact Katie

Baptisms are celebrated approximately 9 to 10 times per year, before the 11:30am Sunday Mass, usually on the second Sunday of the month. Parents are then invited to attend Mass following the baptisms. Baptisms are celebrated approximately 9 to 10 times per year, before the 11:30am Sunday Mass, usually on the second Sunday of the month. Parents are then invited to attend Mass following the baptisms.

Baptism Class Registration:

Purpose of the Preparation Class

Attending a preparation class helps parents and godparents:

  • Participate more fully and consciously in your child's  baptism.
  • Explore each parent’s role in the formation of children.
  • Understand the vision of the family as the domestic Church.
  • Reflect on your own journeys of faith and the responsibility in sharing your faith with your children.
  • Meet and interact with other families in the parish and strengthen ties to the community
  • “Be affirmed in their role as "primary educators" of their children” (National Catechetical Directory, #212).
  • Receive prayer and support from the parish community.
  • Understand the "practicalities" of the Baptism celebration. 

Classes are held one time per month on select weeknights, approximately 9 to 10 times per year.

Please choose "Registration" as "1" (one).  If applicable, please register a second adult.  Parents and godparents are welcome to attend. There is a $35.00 fee that covers both parents and godparents. 
Scholarships are available upon request. 

Baptism For Children Age 7 and Older Preparing to become Catholic

  • Children and their families participate in a year-long program that prepares children for full initiation into the church. 
  • Parents attend education meetings covering the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation.
  • Children participate in our Faith Formation programming on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings.
  • Children and parents participate in sacrament preparation for baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation. 
  • Initiation into the Church is celebrated at the Easter Vigil.

Baptism Preparation for Adults 

Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA)
Formerly RCIA

Welcome to The Basilica of Saint Mary Catholic Community! We’re glad that you’re here and we want to answer your questions.

For adults today, the Church, after the Second Vatican Council, has restored the order of the Catechumenate in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA). It outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens (unbaptized), bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It helps them respond more deeply to God’s gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community. This process is meant to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher. This includes an initiation into the mystery of salvation, the practice of faith, hope, and love, and other virtues in a succession of liturgical rites.

Persons baptized into another Christian church and now seeking full communion with the Catholic Church are also welcomed to participate along with catechumens in the OCIA in the process of learning about the Catholic faith and being formed in that faith. They bring to the process of preparation their prior experience of Christian life and prayer. For a baptized Christian, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church involves reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and then a Profession of Faith followed by the celebration of Confirmation and the Eucharist.

Through a collaborative process of study, exploration, faith sharing, faith formation and study of the Catholic traditions and doctrines, OCIA leads to full participation through the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) as new Catholics join the body of Christ in a life long journey of conversion and discipleship.

The Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil and throughout the year as needed. 

To request:

  • Baptism Certificate - for yourself or a child preparing for 1st Communion, Confirmation or Marriage
  • Marriage Certificate - for yourself

Contact Heather Craig, Basilica Archivist.

Please include the name of the individual, birth date, and the date the sacrament was conferred. Normal practice is to send certificates directly to the church where the individual is doing their sacramental preparation, so also include the name of that church, address, and the individual who should receive the certificate.

Certificates are issued only to establish that a sacrament has been conferred.  Certificates are not issued for genealogical purposes.

  • At the end of the 1st century, baptism was performed in "living water" (streams or rivers). Early Christians preferred immersion although pouring was also accepted.
  • By the late 3rd and early 4th centuries, a ritual involving immersion in lots of water and anointing with oil was solidly established. The great baptisteries of Northern Africa and Southern Europe testify to the importance of the rite and the sacrament.
  • Duringthe 6th and 7th centuries, the ritual declined as it gradually became privatized and minimized. Child baptism became the norm using a minimal amount of water.
  • The second Vatican Council returned to the great baptismal period of the Church and reintroduced immersion and baptism of adults.

Questions? Please Contact:

Katie Wethli

Coordinator of Sacramental Preparation

Katie joined The Basilica staff in August 2023. Her previous roles include Director of Music at Saint…