Non-Catholic attending a Catholic baptism...what to expect?

In two weeks time, I’ll be attending what is probably the only Catholic baptism I’ve ever been to, of a cousin of mine.

So I’m wondering what actually happens at a Catholic baptism and anything I should know before I actually go to the church.

Any help is appreciated. I can only apologize for a silly-sounding question.

Do not fall in the baptismal fountain. :D:D:D

Would the baptism be during Mass or held separately?

Either way, the Priest will direct the proceedings so it should be easy to follow. If you’re comfortable with it, upon entering the Nave it is customary to look for the tabernacle and genuflect. Which is normally done directly before entering the pew where you’ll be sitting.

Other than that, what might be your specific questions?

It actually depends on the parish. Most parishes baptise during a regular Sunday Mass. If that’s the case, there will be an opening hymn and prayer, followed by some readings from scripture, followed by a homily, followed by the Baptism, and finally followed by the Eucharist. Unless you are asked to be a witness, you won’t have to do anything but watch. If you want to follow along with the Mass, you can often find a missal in the pew, which has the readings and responses. If you don’t feel comfortable saying the Mass, it would be fine for you to watch respectfully. Obviously, you should not go up to recieve the Eucharist. Unless the priest specifically invites you to come up for a blessing at the time, I would remain in the pew. Some parishes have Baptisms at a seperate time outside of Mass.

Well first the priest makes sure everyone shows their secret Catholic decoder ring, then…

Assuming you aren’t one of godparents there really isn’t much you have to do. The priest will have the parents, godparents, and child gather around the baptismal font, he will then read the baptismal ceremony from a pamphlet, at some point he will ask the p’s and gp’s some questions, they’ll respond, then he’ll baptize the child. I forget if there is a portion for non-p and gp Catholics at the baptism. If there is, you (as a non-Catholic) just don’t take part in that portion. If you are one of the godparents, I suggest you get with the priest ahead of time for better guidence.

not quite, in this case. Nice try, grasscutter.


Since you are not Catholic, you would not be expected to genuflect toward the tabernacle. Catholics do so to reverence Jesus, present in the Eucharist.

If the baptism is held during Mass, you should also not go forward for Communion.

Other than that, you’ll do just fine. Sit back and enjoy.


I would say be ready for the most joyous experience of these people’s lives.

Could he be a godparent, though? He’d need to be a confirmed Catholic, he has something else listed, so I’d assume not. If he was a GP, there’d be a problem with the baptism itself, wouldn’t there?

Aside from that, the priest usually gives clear instructions to the congregation.

One can go forward and recieve a blessing if they so choose.

After the homily, there will then be the baptism. Unless it’s a private baptism, this is the usual.

There’s no need to go up for a blessing at Communion, and technically it isn’t allowed either. This is a great, holy, and dramatic time during the most Holy Sacrifice, and it’s for receiving Our Lord. A more appropriate time would be after Mass :slight_smile:

Have fun!

As far as I understand it only one godparent needs to be Catholic. The non-Catholic godparent is called a sponsor. I didn’t mention that to keep my post simple.

Woo hoo!!! :extrahappy: I had a nice try! Which is way better than “you are totally wrong and therefore completely suck!”. Thank you for your tact and I agree with what you said.


it doesn’t really matter its just like a non catholic baptism just play cool :cool:

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