From the earliest days of the Church, there was an understanding that children should not be deprived of the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, which the Lord himself proclaimed to be necessary for salvation. Thus, the normal way people are welcomed into the Catholic Church is as an infant. Children are born and baptized and raised in a Church of faith where they are integral members in the larger faith community. To admit children to baptism recognizes their dignity as co-heirs to the kingdom of heaven—a dignity to which all men and women and children are called.

It should be remembered that sacraments, including baptism, are not ‘rewards’ for passing catechism classes or graduating to another level of spiritual formation. Sacraments flow to us purely as gifts from God. While the Church is responsible for seeing to it that those who celebrate the sacraments are properly disposed and prepared, the salvation of souls is the highest concern. One who is baptized is integrated into an entire way of living which only begins at the waters of baptism. Baptism takes place within the context of a community of faith at the request of parents who are members of that community. If there is not a reasonable presumption that a baptized child will be nurtured in the ways of the faith, it would be better for a baptism to be delayed for a time (but never denied) until the parents are willing and able to accept their solemn responsibilities as Christian Parents.

Anyone who has not previously been baptized may be baptized. If a child has been previously baptized (in another Christian tradition or in emergency circumstances) there is a separate rite of "Welcoming a Baptized Child to Church" which may be celebrated. Infants and children up to about 7 years old may be baptized at the request of their parents at any time. Children/adolescents from about 7 years of age to about 18 years should receive age-appropriate catechesis, either privately with the parish staff, or through an organized "Rite of Christian Initiation of Children" (RCIC) group. Adults 18 years and older should contact their parish priest for instruction, which normally involves enrollment in the "Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults" (RCIA) curriculum.

We welcome your inquiries about having your child or children baptized into the Catholic faith. We have prepared a fact sheet answering many of the common questions about having children baptized. Please call the parish office at (217) 544-4554 to make arrangements for the celebration of baptism.

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Baptism of Adults (RCIA)

-- External Links --
Baptism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (via USCCB)
The Sacrament of Baptism: Celebrating God's Embrace (via Catholic Update)
Biblical and Patristic Citations on Baptism (via Scripture Catholic)
The Church Fathers on the Necessity of Baptism (via Catholic Answers)
Infant Baptism (via Catholic Answers)
Can Infants be 'Born Again'? (via Catholic Answers)
The Role of Godparents (via
Unbaptized babies in heaven makes more sense than limbo... (via Catholic News Service)
Christian names for Catholic boys and girls. (via Catholic Doors)