Infant Baptism

Formation and accompaniment in faith before and after a child is baptized is necessary for parents, godparents, and the Church to fulfill the mutual promises made in the ritual of Christian baptism.

The following are resources for individuals and parish communities in the Diocese of Portland. May the Holy Spirit work through all of us as we welcome a new child with God's love and commit to walking together as families strive to follow Jesus Christ in their ordinary lives and all seek to grow in the truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic faith.

For Parents

Contact the parish where you currently participate or hope to baptize your child to start the process toward baptizing an infant (newborn to age 6) Find a Catholic parish in Maine.

  • Ideally, babies are to be baptized within the first weeks after birth.
  • Connecting with the parish at least four months prior to or after the birth of the child allows time for the necessary information gathering, formation, and preparation for the celebration.
  • If you hope to have your child baptized at a parish other than where you live, you will be asked to obtain a letter from the parish in your local geography giving permission for clergy at the non-resident parish to celebrate the baptism.

"In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer [Jesus] Christ's call to holiness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love." from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.  Englishen español

"The family is a proclamation of faith in that it is the natural place in which faith can be lived in a simple and spontaneous manner." Directory for Catechesis (Vatican, 2020), no. 227 

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for a Newborn or Newly Adopted Young Child (USCCB)

Tips for Choosing Sacramental Godparents

The role of sacramental godparents is twofold: (a) to be a support to the parents who are the primary influence in the life of the child; (b) to nurture the faith life of the child.

Church law requires one fully initiated, practicing Catholic as a godparent for baptism though allows a maximum of two, one male and one female. Each godparent is someone who is:

  • at least 16 years old,
  • fully initiated in the Catholic Church through receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, 
  • striving to be a faithful witness to Jesus Christ, especially by participating in Mass regularly,
  • in a valid marriage recognized by the Catholic Church or a single person who is not cohabiting, and
  • ready and able to accept the responsibilities of godparent.

Non-Catholics may serve as witnesses to a baptism but may not be officially recorded as godparents.

Further reading:


For Parish Leaders


Initial Parent Interview for Infant Baptism in Spanish (May 2022) in English (June 2022)

Godparent/Sponsor Verification Forms (October 2023)