Baptism of an older child?

I have already posted a question in regards to the Sacrament of Matrimony, but I also have a question about baptism. I have two stepchildren, ages 6 and 8 (9 in May) and neither one is baptized. Now, Their father and I are both big believers in children being baptized due to original sin and to be a member of the church. Their dad was on deployment during their infancy, but his ex refused to have either child baptized. His mother was going to come to where they were to take them to be baptized, but she never did. My husband believes that the woman takes care of these sorts of things, so he would just continue to request that she do such. After the divorce (they were married by a JP and not a priest or preacher), he received full domicile custody. We were dating and I would often watch the kids when I wasn’t in class. The girl was about to turn 5 and, since he is also Catholic, I assumed she was baptized. I asked him where her baptismal certificate was and if it was ok if she were signed up in the kindergarten PRE/CCD/RCA program at the Church I attended so she stayed on track for Communion. At that point I found out the kids weren’t baptized. After an honorable discharge and move for a new job that summer, we began at a new Parish. Father said he saw no problem for the kids to be baptized, but he need permission from the head Priest, who was suck in Europe due to some immigration issues, and that it wasn’t his actual parish. We have waited and frequently asked about their baptism numerous times and 4 years later still have not been baptized. I have asked one other priest a few times about it over the past year, but to no avail. The kids both go to Mass each week, I educate them about the Faith as much as I can, and they watch many of the kids programs used for teaching on EWTN (Lucy, Roamin’ Catholic, etc.). If you ask them they will both teach you they want to be Catholic. The problem I cam now finding in researching, is that the 8 year old is now at a questionable age for being baptized because she is of “sound judgment”, although I thought that’s supposed to be the opinion for Confirmation. Is this now so? Is my best bet to now call the Diocese like I have been told for Matrimony to get us off of this “wait list”? Is this a situation where an Emergency Baptism would be appropriate? I appreciate any help. :):confused:

You can be baptised at any age.

I’m 20 years old and I’m being baptised this Easter. :slight_smile:

The problem I am now finding in researching, is that the 8 year old is now at a questionable age for being baptized because she is of “sound judgment”,

Are both children currently receiving Reconciliation and Eucharist?

Children under the age of reason – about 7 years old – are considered infants in the Church and can be baptized at their parents’ request. Above that age they are considered adults and go through an adapted version of RCIA. At the Easter Vigil they receive all of the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, First Eucharist). Your parish should be able to provide information relevant to both of your children.

In short, the 6-year-old could be baptized following whatever parental preparation your parish has. The 8-year-old will go through the RCIA process and prepare for baptism.

Emergency baptism is appropriate for someone in danger of death. Assuming the children are healthy, then it is not appropriate.

First the quick questions, no this is not a situation where an emergency baptism would be appropriate, that is for emergencies, like if they are in danger of death.

Now for the longer question, the question isn’t if the 8 year old is “at a questionable age for being baptized,” the question is HOW she will be baptized, as an infant or an adult. For the church, so those are the choices, infant or adult. Infants are baptized based on the faith and promises of their parents, but once a child gets to the age of reason (around 7) they are old enough to have a say in the matter, they are baptized on their own faith and promises, like an adult.

Adults (7 years old an up) go through the RCIA process. Obviously, an 8 year old wouldn’t be thrown into a class with a bunch of adults, hopefully there is an RCIA kids class, or maybe just the regular RE classes with her peers with some extra stuff added, but the process is the same as it is for the adults. She would be baptized, confirmed, and receive First Communion all at the Easter Vigil. This is NOT “graduation” however, and she would be expected to continue on with religious ed even though she has completed all the sacraments of initiation.

As for how to get this all going, just be persistent. Ideally it would be easy to get the whole process started, but our parishes are full of people with human limitations, so it can be a bit of a pain. This is also a particularly busy time of year both for priests and DREs with Easter, Confirmations, and First Communions often happening within the next month or so. It may be easier to catch someone after that as summer starts and things slow down a bit. Most children’s classes tend to start in the fall, about the same time as school, so especially for the older one, you may have to wait until then to get the process moving, but you should be able to at least get information about how exactly your children fit into what the parish has to offer.

I’m not sure what the delay is. You’ve been in a holding pattern for four years?! Normally this is something a parish can take care of in a week or two. I think you just need to stand up for yourself and not be shy about calling the parish to make an appointment with your priest, following Easter since obviously everybody’s busy this week. If for whatever reason your current parish continues to be nonresponsive, you should call the diocese or just go to a different parish. Surely the head priest isn’t still stuck in Europe? Presumably other baptisms have taken place at this parish in the last few years?

As others have said, the younger child can be baptized immediately. The older one will likely be put into a religious education program and baptized later, although the priest may wave this since she’s been in Catholic education for years already.

No because neither one has been Baptized in the Catholic Church (or any other Religion for that matter). They receive blessings and I am teaching them everything they should have been learning from day 1. While I am not a PRE teacher currently due to not having completed Veretus (sp?) class, I am working on that and still have the text book (I was told to keep it and I hope to complete the course to teach again next school year). I have been using that as a guide to help the kids. It is the 3rd grade text I believe, but same basic information just more in depth each year. Thankfully, the youngest is a sponge and remembers so much. Even attending his first Stations of the Cross and then coming home to watch the Passion of The Christ (Mel Gibson), he was telling his dad what would happen next. I figure just because we are still waiting, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t teach them and continue to help them grow in Faith. :shrug:

I see you are in Savannah, TN.

Have you spoken with Father Anthony at St. Mary’s? If not I suggest you contact him. He is a wonderful caring priest and I am sure he would be able to get this situation figured out quickly.

Yes I have. He is the priest I was talking about. When we first came, he was just filling in. After seeing him still in town and coming into the restaurant I worked at quite often, I began to wonder. One of the girls I worked with goes to St. Mary’s too and told me it was now his Parish. My one friend converted this past year, so she and I have been talking alot and I began asking her how she got through RCIA so quickly and has her marriage happening so quick (she and her fiance went to the marriage classes/counseling in memphis). I am beginning to think that what has seemed like a “brush off” was actually us not being “serious” enough, especially since learning you have to be very persistent with him. Kids are kids and didn’t want to go to church without their dad, their dad was having an extremely hard time with his PTSD and his bipolar medicine is now finally on track, and I was getting in late due to my previous jobs of bartending & smelling of alcohol. I think due to us not really being at the Church, he may have gotten the impression we were no longer seeking the help or being serious.

My husband and I have begun talking to him to let him know we are/were serious and he is supposed to call about a meeting time with us towards the end of the week so he can wind down from Holy Week. I think for the most part, this is all just kind of new for me to deal with being in a Parish I am not yet completely used to and adapting to a new priest. With their dad/my husband wanting to go now, they are enthusiastic about church and I don’t have to even attempt to drag them out of bed for Mass anymore.

Also, I’m trying to understand why if the Church is all about Baptism for all children (because of Original Sin), why the priests I have talk to don’t seem in a rush for the Sacrament to happen? I’m also not understanding the whole sound judgement idea behind baptism for an 8 year old? I always though Baptism was the parents and godparents committing, while Confirmation was the child’s commitment. Once Baseball/Softball season ends, we can begin getting to the Mass on RCIA night, which since Father teaches alot during, I hope will help me in getting the kids caught up completely. I sat down my step-daughter and explained she may have to go to classes and wait until next Easter for baptism, she is a little upset and confused by it all, but still ready to go sit with Father to tell him how much she wants to be a member of our Church. I am hoping that everything finally begins to work out. :slight_smile:

absolutely right, this is what I love to hear from parents.
now is a good time to call the parish again. In our parish your children would begin their formal RE/PSR/CCD/RCIA next month, some parishes may tell you it will begin in September, but it is pure gold when the parents have done their job as beautifully as you have in building the basic foundations at home in the family.

The cut off age seems to be about 7, “the age of reason” and before that the child is considered an infant and baptized now (here it would be in May, after 3 parent-godparent preparation meetings), begin RE/CCD/PSR with the next class to prepare for first communion, and continue RE throughout the school years, and prepare for confirmation at the normal age for your diocese (here it is 16).

The 8 year old would also begin RE but in RCIA, Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults as Adapted for Children (say that 3 times fast). She is considered an adult for the purposes of the initiation sacraments, and will prepare with other school age children for baptism, confirmation and first communion, which will be celebrated at the same time, at Easter probably 2013 if she starts now.

I am sorry your parish dropped the ball, but it is a great time to make another appointment with the pastor, or the person(s) he delegates to take care of this. You should speak to him personally though because you also want to give thought to bringing your marriage situation in line. If facts are as they seem from your OP, your husband is Catholic and his first marriage was invalid due to lack of form (that is, he was not married according to the laws of the Church) and that does not require a full annulment process but a simpler, shorter paperwork process to establish that fact. Then your marriage can be convalidated.

Your situation is not unusual and describes actually the majority of families who first come to me for sacraments for their children at a later age than usual. We find the adults also need help, with marriage, or completing their own initiation sacraments, and have the joy of guiding the entire family as Jesus bathes them in his Grace through one sacrament after another.

sad to say especially this time of year it may take more than one phone call or visit to the parish office to get things started, and I have no doubt there will be bumps in the road as unexpected things come up, but Jesus is working through you, their stepmother, in these children for your whole family and you must be prepared for absolute torrents of grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit he has in store for you. This is why I love my job. Very lucky children to have you for their new mother.

The time of waiting is not delaying tactics or a frustration, it is a time of grace, spiritual growth and preparation for the whole family, and as I have seen very often, also of healing. It is a gift, not a burden and I hope you will all come to see it that way. How wonderful that you and the children are also being instrumental in bringing your husband back to the faith as he carries his own heavy cross.

My husband and I had a meeting with Father the other morning. He gave the go ahead to Baptize both kids and told us to schedule for whichever first Sunday we wanted. Even for the 8 year old, since the RCIA program is just for adults. My husband’s Sacramental records can’t be found by the Diocese’ within which he thought he received them, so unless he hears back from the Archdiocese, he is going to go through RCIA. In less than a month, the kids will be baptized and begin PRE in the Fall. The oldest will have to wait a year or two for First Communion (depending on when they feel she is “ready”), but the youngest should be on track (unless they want him to go and do Kindergarten PRE). After the oldest is “caught up” (so to speak) she will be put right into Confirmation preparation for the age of 15. I’m looking at it as a “Catholic Cram Session”, since she’s a bit behind. We have decided that we will go to as many Monday RCIA Masses and classes as a family, to support my husband (because he will be preparing for his confirmation even if records are found) and to help her. The news has made the kids ecstatic and I’m thankful for all the (name removed by moderator)ut given. Thank you!:extrahappy:

Oh wow that is fantastic news!!! Well done for getting this all sorted out

Congratulations! Very happy for you! :smiley: