Emergency Baptism and after requirements


#1

Our baby had an emergency Baptism when she was born 3 months early. It was just a simple pouring of water over her head, because he had to do it quickly. Now that she is out of the NICU, do we need to schedule the rest of the ceremony? The priest who baptized her said that it wasn’t necessary, but of course she missed out on the anointing of oils and such so I’m worried that we are missing something. Also, the only people present at the time were our parents, so they were the sponsors. Do we need to get new sponsors, because generally parents/grandparents are discouraged to be sponsors? We’ve never been in this situation before!


#2

Yes, contact your pastor and he can supply the rites.

It is not necessary for validity. It is certainly something you should do, it is a celebration of your child’s entry into the family of God!

Parents *cannot *be sponsors.

Grandparents certainly can be sponsors. It is not discouraged, not sure where you got that. Your parents are the sponsors. There is no way to get “new” sponsors. Although, your child can choose a different sponsor at Confirmation if they choose.


#3

The priest is obligated to confer Confirmation and Viaticum at the same time as emergency Baptism. Canon 891.


#4

That’s not exactly how the canon reads.

I agree confirmation should be conferred in danger of death. However, I doubt it was.


#5

Well, part of the issue is that my mother was the only PRACTICING Catholic there of the grandparents, so does that matter? She also said that she didn’t feeling comfortable being the sponsor. Not that she is at death’s door, but she felt that our baby should have someone younger. We have some good Catholic friends but would they not be able to be sponsors then? So the one sponsor we have doesn’t want to be sponsor? What do you do?

It was an emergency situation so we couldn’t call someone up at 2am. It had to be done immediately. And no, the priest didn’t confirm at the time. She was on a breathing machine,so
they had to take it off her so that he could pour the water over her head. And he only had a minute to do it, or she would lose oxygen.

I guess I kind of forgot that they are the grandparents, not parents. Oops. :confused:


#6

Many emergency baptisms are done by the laity.


#7

In your case, I might recommend a “conditional baptism.” It seems like the Sacrament was understandably rushed and may not have been done right, even though, if it was done by a Catholic priest, it most likely was. A conditional baptism does not try and replace or re-do or void the original baptism. It asks God to, in case the first baptism was done incorrectly and not-validly, to baptize the child. It respects the original baptism and it hopes that it was done correctly.


#8

I didn’t see there was mention of having a baptismal certificate. This would be important to have when the baby has subsequent sacraments. Emergency baptism is wise for a babies spiritual health/salvation, but baptism is a welcoming into the Church with one of the sacraments of initiation that is needed for the others which would seek documentation of the baptism, especially as confirmation is the other part of that rite of initiation. Confirmation seals the initial baptismal graces so going forward a record of the baptism is important to have and why it should be done in the ‘formal’ sense. Additionaly it gives the Church family who have the responsibility to help raise the child in the faith, the opportunity to welcome the child in with prayer.


#9

The sponsor is a fact of the baptism. If the sponsor was entered into the baptismal record, then that is that. You can always ask someone you are close to to be a spiritual mentor for your child. If there was no sponsor entered in the baptismal record, you can choose a sponsor and ask that they be added to the record.

Just talk to your pastor about both the sponsor and supplying the additional rites of baptism including anointing, the candle, white garment, etc.

So glad your baby is doing well.


#10

Also to clarify: was the Trinitarian formula also invoked? “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?” Or was water just poured with no words?

Now that she is out of the NICU, do we need to schedule the rest of the ceremony? The priest who baptized her said that it wasn’t necessary, but of course she missed out on the anointing of oils and such so I’m worried that we are missing something. Also, the only people present at the time were our parents, so they were the sponsors. Do we need to get new sponsors, because generally parents/grandparents are discouraged to be sponsors? We’ve never been in this situation before!

Yes, you should schedule the ceremony so that the other aspects (anointings, exorcisms, etc.) can still be performed.


#11

A Catholic priest performed the baptism. They know the proper form and matter.

The OP was conveying there was no time to do baptism and confirmation. They had to put the baby back on her oxygen.


#12

No, no, no. A priest baptized the baby. There is no doubt that the Baptism is valid. There is no valid reason to do a conditional Baptism.


#13

Yes, the pastor from our parish performed the Baptism, so I am assuming and hoping that it was in fact licit. :wink:

We didn’t get a Baptismal certificate from our parish, so I don’t know what that means. I called them, but haven’t heard back. If there are no sponsors listed, we will go with the Catholic couple we know. Because my mother was the only practicing Catholic present at the time, if she is considered the sponsor, I’m assuming that we need to get a male practicing Catholic, unless one sponsor is okay for a Baptism. [Our last child just has one Baptismal sponsor.]

Our baby is doing very well now. She was born 2lbs. 12oz at the time and is now 11lbs. Her name is Brigid Marie. :slight_smile:

I didn’t ask about the necessity for confirmation at the time, due to myself being rather unwell. But I had heard that it is done in grave instances. Maybe it wasn’t serious enough to necessitate confirmation and last rites. One doesn’t think about these kind of things when one is on lots of pain killers. :o


#14

A priest who confers an emergency Baptism will enter it in his parish’s register. I didn’t get certificates when my kids were baptized, in fact I didn’t get certificates until It was time for First Communion and they were needed to prove they’d been baptized. I’ve never had a Certificate of Baptism for myself because any sacrament that would have required one was celebrated in the parish where I was baptized.

Our parish issues them upon request.


#15

Thanks! That is an enormous help. It was in fact her pastor, the one who baptized her, who said that the rest of the ceremony wasn’t a necessity. It was a priest from a different parish who said that it was. That’s why I was confused. He said this to my husband at the hospital at 2 in the morning, so I don’t really blame him since none of us were particularly lucid.


#16

One sponsor is all that is required.

Also, baptism certificates given to the family are commemorative only. it is not any sort of official document, and many parishes do not give them out.

The sacramental record itself is maintained at the parish.


#17

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