I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and fully immersed, with full and grave awareness of the import and meaning of the sacrament, as well as being aware of the effect of it on my life that followed, but it was done back in the late 60s early 70s by a Jesus People’s Army commune leader in a river. Will I have to, get to, or be prohibited from being baptized in the Catholic Church if I can’t produce any supporting documents?
Certainly the Lord and I are completely aware and appreciative of its validity, on the other hand, I would very much like to be baptized into the Catholic Church, if permissable.
I asked this in AAA but I imagine it won’t get answered in all the good questions that likely get asked there. Being in RCIA, this is coming up now, and I’d like to know.
For a definitive answer, check with your own priest.
As best I understand it, if you can produce witness testimony (a friend or relative who remembers you being baptized) and if they write down an account of it, and testify that it is a truthful account, this can stand in the place of a certificate of baptism. This is sometimes done for children whose parish of baptism has been destroyed for some reason.
If you are sincerely convinced that you were validly baptized, but can’t produce any witness testimony to that fact, the Church will recommend a conditional baptism. In a conditional baptism, the words "If you are not baptized, I baptize you … " etc.
It would be sacrilege to attempt a re-baptism, if you know or suspect that you were baptized validly.
However, at the same time, if you thought you were baptized validly, but then the priest investigates and finds out that it wasn’t actually valid, take his word for it, and be baptized for the first time.
I think that if you were old enough to accurately remember the event you can provide the necessary affidavit. I had a similar situation with a Vietnamese lady who had been baptized at a girl’s school in Vietnam. [Getting records from Vietnam is not possible.] She had a picture of the baptism and could that it was of her being baptized.
Thanks for your helpful input. That clears it up for me quite a bit.
At the time, I was 16, and I am certain that while not Catholic, that it was in fact a valid baptism, if undocumented. Did those baptized by John the Baptist have to get a certificate?
; ) Just kidding.
Nevertheless, hoping to follow the rules to the letter, after I posted here, on the outside chance I’d find him, I searched facebook for the commune elder who baptized me, and actually found him. I’m waiting for a response.Now if I can just find my first wife…