Celebrating the Sacrament
of Infant Baptism
We are happy to walk with you as you approach the sacrament of Baptism for your child. Here is some information that may be helpful:
What are the requirements for baptism and how do we proceed?
For a child to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, there must be a basis for hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. In practice, this generally means that at least one parent is Catholic. Most dioceses in the United States require parents to participate in some preparation before the baptism of their children; we offer a baptism preparation session here at the Duke Catholic Center.
We encourage you to consider what you will call your spiritual home, in other words, where you will worship on a regular basis. If it is here at Duke, a baptism here makes perfect sense. If it is at one of the local parishes, you may want to consider having your child baptized there. We can give you some direction if that is needed.
To get things going, here is what you do:
- Contact the Duke Catholic Center and indicate your interest in having your child baptized. You will be sent a Data for Baptismal Register Form to fill out and return to Fr. Mike at your earliest convenience. Mike will then assign himself or a second priest who will work with you and will also celebrate your child’s baptism
- You will then be given access to an online video series REBORN and asked to view it together as a couple (It lasts about 90 minutes). This will help to prepare you for the sacrament as well as for your meeting with Fr. Mike or your designated priest.
- Once you are finished viewing the video, contact Fr. Mike or your designated priest to set up a time to meet with your assigned priest in person. At that time, they will begin to arrange the date and time of the Baptism with you.
What are the requirements for godparents?
We hope that parents choose godparents who will take an active role in the faith formation of their child. There are specific requirements that godparents need to meet that are outlined on the attached Godparent Testimony Form that you will need to have each of the godparents fill out, sign, and return to the priest performing the baptism. Let us know if you have questions.
Where and when do we celebrate baptisms at the DCC?
We generally celebrate Baptisms in one of two ways: by special individual appointment through the Duke Chapel; in our Chapel in the Falcone-Arena House.
In Duke Chapel:
Baptisms usually take place in the Memorial Chapel which is located in Duke Chapel and holds about 50 people. We will need to coordinate with the Duke Chapel schedule. After we meet with you for your preparation for baptism, we will establish some date and time options that will work for you and for the celebrant. The celebrant will then contact the scheduler of Duke Chapel to determine availability and then confirm a time with you. Saturday mornings prior to 11am and Sunday afternoons after 1pm usually work best on the Chapel calendar. Know however, that it is increasingly difficult to schedule baptisms in Duke Chapel due to its use for other events that take precedence. The Duke Catholic Center does not control the calendar of Duke Chapel.
In the Falcone-Arena House Chapel:
Baptisms can take place in the Chapel in the Falcone Arena House (corner of Trinity & Buchanan) and holds about 25 people. After we meet with you for your preparation for baptism, we will establish some date and time options that will work for you and for the celebrant. Since we own this property, we have much greater flexibility in scheduling.
Is there a fee?
Many ask if there is some type of fee for the Baptism. No fee is required, but if you would like to make an offering to the Duke Catholic Center it would be gladly accepted.
What should the baby wear for the baptism?
A white garment is an ancient sign of the newly baptized Christian’s new life in Christ. Your child’s baptismal garment need not be a traditional baptismal or christening gown; it can be any clothing that is mainly white.
What is full immersion?
Some parishes offer baptism by immersion – the baby is placed completely in the baptismal font for the baptism. We do not offer that here at Duke, but rather baptize by pouring water over the head of the child.
Where is the baptism recorded?
The Duke Catholic Center is not a parish, but rather a campus ministry. As such, all of the sacraments that are held here are registered at the local parish, Immaculate Conception Church, Durham, NC. After the baptism of your child, the paperwork will be sent to the offices of Immaculate Conception and recorded in their Baptismal Registry. In the future, should you require documentation noting your child’s baptism, simply contact Immaculate Conception and they will issue a current Baptismal Certificate. A few weeks after your child’s baptism, you will receive a Baptismal Certificate from the parish for your files.