The Sacrament of Baptism

A Message From Our Pastor About Baptism

Dear Parents:

With great joy we celebrate with you the birth of your child, and are looking forward to journeying with you towards having your child baptized here at St. John Vianney. We would like you to take a minute to reflect upon this decision.

As The Rite of Baptism of The Church reminds us, in requesting to have your child baptized: 

“[...] you are accepting the responsibility of training your child in the practice of the Faith. It will be your duty to bring your child up to keep God’s Commandments as Christ has taught us... Do you clearly understand what it is you are undertaking?”

The Rite of Baptism reminds parents of the responsibilities and duties that they assume for their child. There are also, however, rights of the child which The Catechism of The Church speaks about – rights that should not be violated even by parents:

“Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within The Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God, and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.”

#1269 Catechism Catholic Church

Considering these responsibilities and the sanctity of the Sacrament of Baptism we ask all parents (along with their godparents) to work with our Baptism Team and the process we have in place, in order to best serve the needs of your child and provide them the necessary guidance and support, to properly form and prepare parents and godparents in their responsibilities, and to ensure that the sacrament is celebrated validly and licitly. We thank you for your cooperation.

In Christ,

Fr. Giovanni

Infant Baptism (English)



Baptism 2019 V2


The Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism opens the door to a new life in Jesus Christ... a life that goes beyond our death and into the life of heaven after our death.

Baptism is the sacrament of salvation: an encounter with God that cleanses us from sin and makes us true children of God, sharing in his very own divine life.

This great gift is offered to all who believe and to the children of families of faith.  Since her earliest days, the Church has baptized adults and children because it is the only ordinary way God has revealed that we may receive the grace of salvation through this sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as St. Paul teaches in Romans chapter 6:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:3, 8, 11)

Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation.  The other two are Confirmation and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Children typically receive the other Sacraments of Initiation after reaching age 7 and before age 16.

Baptism of Infants and Children (under age 7)


It is an ancient custom and also a requirement of Church law that each new Christian have at least one sponsor, traditionally called a godparent, who “together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations” of this new life. (Code of Canon Law, 872)

Church law and our diocese provide guidelines for the qualifications to serve as a godparent.  The reason for these requirements is to ensure that the new Christian will have the support they need from their sponsor who will promise to pray for them and help them as they prepare for other sacraments and seek to live out their baptism throughout their lifetime.

Baptism of Adults (and children age 7 and up)

Following the spread of Christianity in the first few generations after the resurrection of Jesus, the Catholic Church developed a process to prepare adults for entry into the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion (Eucharist).  Today, the Church calls this process the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA.  Through this process, those who express interest in becoming Catholic are welcomed into a special community within the parish to learn about the teachings of Jesus and his Church, to have their questions answered, learn about the new life in Christ offered by baptism, and prepare for the reception of the Sacraments.

Please contact us to get started!  Nothing more than an interest in learning more about Catholicism is needed to begin.  There is no pressure, only welcome and support as you freely journey towards union with Christ and his Church.

Children who have reached age 7 and have not yet been baptized are considered “adults” with consideration for the reception of sacraments.  This is because - at age 7 - they are able to take personal responsibility for their sins and are able to make a profession of faith on their own.  A special preparation process is provided for them.  Parents, please contact us so that we can help you get started.  It is never too late to baptize your children.

Infant Baptism at SJV

Baptisms for children below the age of reason are celebrated every other month in English.  A single session preparation class is required.  Please refer to the Baptism Schedule for the preparation class sessions and baptism dates. 

All documentation must be submitted prior to the baptism preparation class: baptism application, godparent form(s), birth certificate, godparent sacrament certification(s).

Baptisms are subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.  We will inform those registered  2-3  weeks in advance if the class will be canceled.  Please inform out of town guests of this policy.


For more information, please contact:

Marilou Manela (916) 600-0337

Rose Ramos (916) 595-0243


Private Baptisms

“In the Church of the Apostles and Fathers, baptism was never understood as a private ceremony but was a corporate event. This is indicated by the development of the Lenten fast in the fourth century when catechumens attended their final instructions before baptism at the paschal vigil: their baptism was the occasion for the whole community's repentance and renewal. Likewise, the definitive statement of the whole Church's faith, the "We believe" of the Creed, was derived from the solemn questions addressed by the sacramental minister to the candidate in the baptismal font. Whoever, then, is baptized, is baptized into the unique community of the Messiah, and it is that community's common faith in the Savior's person and promises that the candidate is obliged to make his or her own.”  (source: USCCB)

Additional Resources

Diocesan Sacramental Guidelines for Baptism of Infants
Diocesan Sacramental Guidelines for Baptism of Adults
Diocesan Liturgical Norms for Baptism 

Common Questions

No. According to the Code of Canon Law: "To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor [for baptism], a person must . . . not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized" (CIC 874). We may be able to help you find a suitable person to serve as a godparent.

Traditionally, godparents often filled this role in the event that both parents died while the child is a minor. However, this is not the case in modern society. Any legal needs to provide for your children should be taken care of in addition to your child's baptism. While it may be the case that a godparent would make a very suitable candidate for this role, the Church does not make any connection between these unique roles in the care of children in this most difficult circumstance.

Videos on Baptism

The centrality of Baptism

The Centrality of Baptism



Baptism gives us a share in the divine life

Bishop Barron on the Sacrament of Baptism



Why do we baptize infants?

Steve Ray: "Infant Baptism"