Can I use a Photocopy of Baptism Certificate for RCIA?


#1

I posted this question earlier but it seems to have been removed for some reason. I am in the RCIA process and all I have is an old photocopy of my baptism certificate. I have tried repeatedly to contact the Church where I was baptized but no one ever answers the phone. If I am unable to get an original copy, will the photocopy be ok to use?


#2

[quote="Akiliane, post:1, topic:315393"]
I posted this question earlier but it seems to have been removed for some reason. I am in the RCIA process and all I have is an old photocopy of my baptism certificate. I have tried repeatedly to contact the Church where I was baptized but no one ever answers the phone. If I am unable to get an original copy, will the photocopy be ok to use?

[/quote]

It probably is...is there a reason to believe it is not from the real one?

The best thing is to talk to your parish priest.


#3

I am not certain about this. Can you try to send a letter to the church you were baptized in so that they can mail you the certificate?


#4

that should be fine , my wife was not even given a baptism certificate and she is in the RCIA although she was given a bible on her baptism with a little card stating the date inside and they accepted that.

but I would talk to whoever is running the RCIA program and or priest and let them know they should be fine with it!


#5

The Church where I was baptized is in Sacramento, Ca.... I now live in Los Angeles which is about 6 hours away...... I have called over and over, and there is never an answer and I have also left messages with no response.... I recently found the photocopy and was just curious if it would be valid considering its only a photocopy. But I do have a witness for my baptism.... So I guess it dosent matter. I was just wondering. Thanks for your responses!


#6

When I entered into Communion with Rome, I emailed my priest a scan of my Baptism/Chrismation certificate. :)


#7

I'd speak with your RCIA director but I'm almost positive the photocopy will be sufficient. If memory serves me correctly, there were a couple of members in my RCIA class who used photocopies of their baptism certificate! :)


#8

Nothing was issued to my parents or to me when I was baptized in 1961 but the church photocopied the card on which all the info was typed. This was perfectly acceptable as it had all the pertinent information needed.


#9

The church in which I was baptized wrote a letter citing the date I was baptized, etc. That was sufficient for RCIA for me.


#10

One of the reasons we ask for a new one is to check the notations on the back. If an inquirer was ever married in a Catholic Church it will be written on the back.

I would also ask the OP to call the chancery in the diocese where they were baptized to see if they have the correct number for the church. I know in the last church I worked for there was a problem because the number listed in the white pages was for our fax machine and people kept saying they called but go not answer. It could be an old number or one that is not checked if there is an answering machine. The fact that no one ever answers seems rather strange since parishes offices are usually open every day.


#11

[quote="Joannm, post:10, topic:315393"]
One of the reasons we ask for a new one is to check the notations on the back. If an inquirer was ever married in a Catholic Church it will be written on the back.

I would also ask the OP to call the chancery in the diocese where they were baptized to see if they have the correct number for the church. I know in the last church I worked for there was a problem because the number listed in the white pages was for our fax machine and people kept saying they called but go not answer. It could be an old number or one that is not checked if there is an answering machine. The fact that no one ever answers seems rather strange since parishes offices are usually open every day.

[/quote]

Since the OP is in RCIA there is a good chance that this was not a Catholic baptism. (But your suggestions to check for other phone numbers are good.)


#12

If a church has closed, call the diocese. They will let you know if it is closed and who is in charge of their records now. In our diocese they have a website. On that website it list all the churches and if/ when they closed and who is in charge of their records.

BTW it depends on the diocese. When we were married in the Chicago diocese, to get my records, they had to go back to my baptismal church. They would not take a copy.

When we moved to the Gary, Indiana Diocese, they just wanted to know the dates.

Blessings,
Jill


#13

[quote="Joannm, post:10, topic:315393"]
One of the reasons we ask for a new one is to check the notations on the back. If an inquirer was ever married in a Catholic Church it will be written on the back.

I would also ask the OP to call the chancery in the diocese where they were baptized to see if they have the correct number for the church. I know in the last church I worked for there was a problem because the number listed in the white pages was for our fax machine and people kept saying they called but go not answer. It could be an old number or one that is not checked if there is an answering machine. The fact that no one ever answers seems rather strange since parishes offices are usually open every day.

[/quote]

I forgot to mention that I was baptized in a Protestant Church not Catholic. Someone told me to leave a message saying I wanted to give a large donation and I would more than likely get a call back.... :D So sad to say its probably true.


#14

Mine was a photocopy for RCIA. It wasn't a copy of the original though....it was the copy I'd got for my wedding more than a year prior.

Interestingly, when we got the copy of it, it was signed by the now priest at that parish. It was someone we had lost track of years ago and were able to reconnect. Kind of neat actually.


#15

All baptism in a parish are recorded in that parish's register. However, lot of parishes only keep their old (i.e. full) registers for a limited period basically depending on how many baptisms take place and how old the parish is. Normally, these old registers are sent to the diocesan offices for safe keeping so, depending on when you were baptised, the diocesan offices may be able to assist you better than they parish. Regardless, they may also be able to help you to get in touch with the parish. it should be possible to proceed with just a photocopy - All that's really needed is some form of proof of baptism - the original certificate or written confirmation of the entry in the parish baptismal register is of course the best evidence but sometimes this just isn't possible so a photocopy should be sufficient in your case.


#16

The church that I was a member of will not get in touch with me. I have even Facebooked a deacon of that church. I assume I shouldn’t have told them why I needed a copy of it. haha. oops. Anyway, I was allowed to have a letter written from my brother, who witnessed my baptism. I’m sure your copy will be just fine. :slight_smile:


#17

As other posters have stated, you should ask your priest. I had baptism certificate "issues" when I went through RCIA last year as well and my priest told me that in cases where the validity of a baptism could not be determined, they would perform a conditional baptism. The exception, of course, was if the baptism wasn't done using the Trinitarian formula. He said written testimony of people present or baptism records of the church would be enough, so one would think a photocopy would suffice. My certificate was lost and the baptism record book was MIA when I asked my Methodist church to reissue mine. About a month later, they found the record book and it turns out I had been baptized as an infant but that record was scratched out and my confirmation date entered since they "baptized" me again at confirmation. It was decided at some point they didn't recognize infant baptisms... Long story short, they reissued it and it worked out fine, but they wouldn't reissue it with my original (infant) baptism date on it. :shrug:

Good luck on your journey!!


#18

[quote="Akiliane, post:1, topic:315393"]
I posted this question earlier but it seems to have been removed for some reason. I am in the RCIA process and all I have is an old photocopy of my baptism certificate. I have tried repeatedly to contact the Church where I was baptized but no one ever answers the phone. If I am unable to get an original copy, will the photocopy be ok to use?

[/quote]

There may be no answer because the church may have closed or is only used now for special occasions. While your photocopy should be fine, you can contact the archdioces headquarters and they should have a department that has the records from closed churches.


#19

[quote="robwar, post:18, topic:315393"]
There may be no answer because the church may have closed or is only used now for special occasions. While your photocopy should be fine, you can contact the archdioces headquarters and they should have a department that has the records from closed churches.

[/quote]

The OP was baptized Protestant. Depending on the denomination, there might not be any regional authority (the equivalent of a diocese) to contact -- it could be an independent church or one that is not part of a large denomination. Even if there some sort of regional authority, they might not keep sacramental records in the same thorough way the Catholic Church does. It will really depend on the particular Protestant church.

OP, try looking around for other phone numbers, or if there is a regional authority for that church try contacting them (e.g. a regional or national X-denomination headquarters). If you still can't reach them, talk to your RCIA director and priest about whether your photocopy is sufficient or whether they need additional information like a witness statement. You will be fine in the end -- plenty of RCIA candidates have trouble locating baptismal records, but it will all work out.

I had a lot of trouble reaching my old church when I was in RCIA. I assume that they didn't like the reason I was requesting proof of baptism. ;) I was going to have to have one of my family members write a letter about witnessing my baptism, but in the end my old church came through with a letter just before the Rite of Election.


#20

It used to be that a copy of a Baptismal Certificate had to be a "true copy" meaning that a reproduction could have been used, but it had to have an original seal or stamp. Now, I don't know what the current practice is, nor do I know if Protestants even use seals or stamps, but the fact that there is a living eyewitness to the baptism should, along with the photocopy, be sufficient. As others have said, best to ask the pastor just to be sure you're ducks are all in a row.


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