Stipend for baptism?

We are FINALLY getting our plans for our son’s baptism finalized, after months of hand-wringing. We are looking at a private baptism and I understand that it is traditional to give a stipend to the priest or deacon (there is no official charge for baptism in this archdiocese.) What is a reasonable amount to give? I don’t want to shortchange by giving too little or embarrass by giving too much.

I know that my cousin, when her daughter was baptized, gave about $20 or $25

Hi ibkc,

I recently had my son baptized in a private ceremony ( 230 on a saturday ) I was also struggling with the same question you are.
I spoke to a couple of priests ( business relationships I have ) that were not involved with the Church or Priest that was doing my son’s baptism. The answer they gave me ( emphasizing that there was no need for any $$$ ) and after pressing them that I wanted to give him something for his time on saturday at 230, I asked if 50 dollars would be appropriate. They both indicated that that was generous and would be greatly appreciated by my Priest doing the baptism.

( I did give 50 in a thank you card ) I believe he appreciated it alot. ( I also appreciated what he did for my son and family on this private baptism.):slight_smile:

Hope that helps and congratulations on your son’s baptism.

God bless,

I am a Catholic Permanent Deacon. I have baptized many babies.

Fewer than a third of the parents have given me an honorarium. I neither ask for, nor expect one. When I teach the Baptism Prep classes I actively discourage the notion that they are necessary or expected.

When I am given one, I gratefully receive it as the gift it truly is. (And I usually donate it to a worthy cause.)

The least I have received (from one who has given) was $10. The highest was $50. Most commonly $20.


Good rule of thumb, if you want to offer a gift to the priest or deacon is to offer whatever you can afford. I’ve seen anywhere from $5.00 to $100 being given. The parish we had our kids baptised in suggested a $50 donation for the church…anything beyond that (for the priest himself) was really left up to us. I tend to want to be very generous…sometimes more than I can reasonably afford to be. :o But just know that whatever you do, will no doubt be appreciated.

I am in charge of the baptism program in our parish and the money we collect as donations for baptism goes to the parish not to the priest or deacon.

Also, may I ask why you opt or a “private” baptism. That stands squarly against all that baptism expresses as initiation into the Body of Christ, the Church.

I know plenty of priest but I still chose to have my children baptized at regular parish baptisms with other families. When it comes time to baptize our grandkids, even though my husband is a deacon, we will do it at a regular ceremony, not a private one.

I know this was directed at the OP, but I wanted to comment anyway. :smiley: At the parish where we had our children baptised, they only allowed two children at a time to be baptised during a mass, so if you didn’t plan ahead far enough, you’d be waiting a REALLY long time. The other option was to have your child baptised “assembly line” style with a bunch of other families who you would never see again. The ceremony tended toward irreverence, since many of the families were unfamiliar with protocol, having not been inside a church since the wedding of the infant’s parents. The third choice, which some familes opted for, was a private ceremony which, while more intimate, at least allowed for due reverence to the sacrament.

While I agree that receiving the sacrament during a Mass is by far the preferred method (for me, anyway) there are good reasons not to.

Our parish works differently. The deacon who taught our baptism prep class did not say a gift or stipend is required, in fact he said just the opposite, but I still want to do it.

Also, may I ask why you opt or a “private” baptism. That stands squarly against all that baptism expresses as initiation into the Body of Christ, the Church.

  1. Our parish does not perform baptisms during mass. They offer two options: attendance at a regularly scheduled group baptism, or a private baptism.

  2. The godparent will be traveling from a distant state. Our son’s 89-year-old great-grandfather also wants to attend, and he, too, will be traveling from a distant state. It may not be feasible for them to be here on a day when the parish normally performs the group baptisms.

At this point, I just want to make it happen. If everyone can be here on the normal group baptism day, fine; but if not, I will schedule a private baptism. The parish offers this service; it’s not like I am asking for something out of the ordinary.

Many thanks to the people who answered the question. :thumbsup:

In my parish, we do not baptize during Mass, except very occasionally (perhaps once in the past two years, not counting Easter Vigils).

We do baptize on any given Sunday, immediately following the last (11:30) Mass. We limit to 3 families on a Sunday. If all three have triplets, we might have nine kids, but otherwise it is kept fairly intimate… no “assembly line.”

Deacon Joe

My experience is $25 or $50.

While no stipend is ever required for any sacrament; I think it is appropriate to give a stipend to the priest or deacon for a baptism or witnessing a marriage.

It is customary here to offer a stipend around $25 for a baptism or around $100 for a wedding.

Somewhat differently than what some here have posted, our baptism classes and marriage preparation booklets offer guidance regarding the stipend. And we do that because most people (like the original poster) do ask about it, and do inquire as to a suggested amount.

God bless you all,

We have over 100 baptisms a year and we do them twice a month at a 2PM service. I limit the number of families to 8 but on the average we have 5. Our baptism ceremony is done very well thanks to a gal who worked on it with me as part of a project for the lay ministry class she was taking. We have hostesses, lectors, assistants and musicians. We try to make it very personal calling each child by name to the font. Once in a while we get a crazy family who really thinks they area at a party but most of the time it is very respectful The only time we do privates is if the family has their own priest…but we still discourage it. One family had their first child baptized privatly but after attending our communal baptism for a friend’s child they decided to have their second done at our ceremony because it seemed so much more solemn and meaningful that the 15 minute ceremony their priest friend did for them.