Baptism in the hospital. Help!

So this may be a dumb question but I am due to have my first child after 4 pregnancy losses in a few months and with the current state of the pandemic the area I live in has many rules and regulations one of them being churches not being able to open up to the public. I have talked to my parish to find out when they are expecting to be doing baptisms again and they said not until December of 2021, by that time my son will be 10 months old. Because of my history of pregnancy losses I am terrified to lose my son in infancy and want to have him baptized as soon as possible so I called the hospital I’m delivering at (a Catholic hospital) and they said that a chaplain will be available to baptize my son the day he is born. My husband and I have decided to have the chaplain baptize him but are confused on how to get the documentation from the diocese after the fact especially since no visitors are allowed so the godparents can’t be there to witness it and sign baptism certificate. Does anyone know how this will work?

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Ask the chaplain, maybe? Or just contact your parish, through the phone perhaps. They could probably tell you

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Deleting my response because the deacon answered your question below me.

The chaplain will take care of everything, including getting notice to your parish.

Nothing to worry about, we baptize infants in the hospital all the time.

You can later go through the Rite of Bringing a Baptized Child to the Church if you like. It’s just like an actual baptism, all the questions, symbols and such, just without the actual baptism. The Godparents can be there and do their parts, as well. It’s done typically for children baptized quickly in the hospital.

Rest easy, I will say a pray to St. Gerard of Majella for you, and invite CAF to do the same,

Deacon Christopher


Video the baptism, make sure the correct formula is used. Then later you can present it to the parish.

This isn’t necessary. If there’s a medical emergency videoing the baptism will be the last thing on their minds. If the priest has any concerns he will conditionally baptize the child later.

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Most definitely praying for you and your baby. St. Gerard Manilla please intercede

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May God grant you a safe delivery and a healthy baby and mom.
Holy Mary, St. Joseph and St. Gerard, please intercede for this intention.
In Jesus’ Name I pray. Thank you. Amen.

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Your parish doesn’t appear to have the faintest idea as to when they will be doing baptisms. Depending on what country you are in, it will be up to the state authorities to determine to what extent gatherings are controlled (as in, limitations on size of gathering). In the US, many if not most jurisdictions have allowed some rule of how many may be present, for example, at a Mass; and while that may fluctuate based on the rate of infections, it is highly unlikely that there will be no baptisms for 10 months.

In Oregon, gathering size is based in part on the infection rate in a county; some counties can have larger gatherings than others (e.g. 10% of capacity, 25%, etc.). Our parish has been doing baptisms for at least 4 or 5 months, if not longer.

If the parish upon another call says no baptisms for 10 months, I would give a call to the chancery and/or check with some nearby parishes. While baptism in the hospital is okay, you might want to re-check on what you have been told.

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I’ve heard a couple priests make the argument that a global pandemic that has shut Churches rand limited access to sacraments sure rises to the level to consider doing this. Their advice was to record it so there is a record of the baptism and form. Then, when sacraments have been normalized at the parish they can annoint and such. This can be extremely comforting to parents and can be a blessing should a medical emergency arrive. The op said they’ve been told dec of 2021. Add to that thin or depleted medical services and you have a pretty “emergency” type of situation. It’s a merciful thing to do.
Ideally you could have a priest or deacon do it privately, but in many areas that is not being allowed either. I’m no expert but I can pretty much guarantee you that at any point if the Church’s history a pandemic stopped baptisms for a year or more, holy water would be flying in many houses. The advantage of technology is an instant record and an instant guide to form. Even bribing in clergy on a zoom call would be an option.


I agree. Even if I were not in an emergency medical situation, there’s no way I would let my baby go unbaptized for almost a year when I myself could baptize baby. If God considered that a sin for me to baptize baby rather than wait the 10 months, I’d take the hit.


My son was born prematurely at 27 weeks. The doctor who delivered him through C-Section, Baptized him.

Later, a priest completed the sacrament with the anointing of Holy Oil.

So no problem having the Chaplain who is often a priest, Baptize the child.

FYI, my son turns 40 years old in February. :smiley:


I would do the same.

The Church does not tell us definitively that unbaptized babies go to Heaven. We can only trust them to God’s mercy. If my choice were to have my child unbaptized for almost a year during a pandemic or having the hospital chaplain perform a baptism, there is no question which I would choose.


Fellow micro-preemie here! :raised_hands:t2: Baptized in the hospital sink. :grin:


I would be proud of baptizing any Christian. We all should. The direction many have been given by the Church is to baptize. And we should do so proudly and confidently in this global emergency that has limited access to salvific sacraments!

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My son had an emergency baptism when he was a day old. The witnesses were two nurses

He then received, when he was older the part of the sacrament where the godparents are named.

So he has godparents, the nurses aren’t his godparents.

Similar story. My son was 28 weeks. Baptized by the hospital chaplain. He’ll be 12.

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In an emergency you as parents may baptize your own child. If your child cannot be baptized for months, anything could happen between now and then.
My son was baptized at age 36 in the hospital the eve of his death. The hospital chaplain performed the service with his mom and I present.
You don’t need to video anything. Use the correct baptismal formula,
“Take common water, pour it on the head and face of the child and while pouring it say: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”.
(From the new Marian Missal).

For 2000 years (ok, maybe not all 2000 years but a lot) we have been doing emergency baptisms with no video recording. Sure that would be nice, but we have managed without for centuries, so why would this priest suggest it would be necessary?

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In light of recent Vatican rulings on the validity of some baptisms I can understand why this is a good idea. He didn’t say it was necessary for baptism (as I’m sure you know) but it helps offer a record of the form for the parish to have. And a piece of mind for the parents. And since almost everyone is videoed now with our phones or technology I would think it would be quite easy.

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