"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" - Mt. 28:19"
is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation followed by the Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. Baptism finds its roots in a Jewish purification ritual in which immersion in water was a means of initiating converts into Judaism. At His baptism in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist, Christ changed this ritual into a sacrament (an outward sign of God's love and man's faith) and fulfills and gives meaning to the use of water which was prefigured in the Old Testament in such events as the liberation of the Chosen People from the bondage of Egypt through the Red Sea.
The Sacrament of Baptism is the key that opens the door of faith. Through the waters of Baptism, the Original Sin committed by our first parents is washed away and our souls purified. By this purification, we become children of God and enter into a relationship with God that can never be erased. Furthermore, we die to sin and are united with Christ and, through the anointing with the Sacred Oil of Chrism, share in His three-fold Office as Priest, Prophet and King.
The Church encourages all to enter into this magnificent relationship with God, and thus Catholic parents have a grave duty to have their children baptized and raised in the faith. To assist them in this task, the parents invite godparents to share in the duty of providing the spiritual needs of their children and to ensure that the children are properly raised in their Catholic faith. When choosing godparents, Canon Law asks that at least one of the godparents be a practicing, confirmed Catholic of good and moral standing and that both godparents be at least 16 years of age. In the event that a godparent is unable to attend the actual Baptism, the parent must find a proxy with the same qualifications previously mentioned. A Baptismal Certificate will be required in order for one to be a godparent or Christian Witness (non-Catholic).