Baptism Guidelines

The policy of St. Leo IV/St. Edmund for Infant Baptism is as follows:


1) Catholic parents must be registered and practicing members of St. Leo IV Parish or St. Edmund Chapel. Catholic parents must embrace the fullness of the faith proclaimed by the Church and truly make a serious effort to live a good moral life worthy of imitation. They accept the responsibility of training their children in the practice of the faith. Practicing the faith includes active participation at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and the regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as needed. (The Pastor is happy to offer pastoral assistance to any non-practicing Catholic who seeks to renew their faith.)

2) Expectant parents should call the office (337.334.5056) during the last three months of their pregnancy to begin the process of preparation for their child’s Baptism. It may be easier at this time to schedule a meeting with the pastor to prepare for the baby’s Baptism. But it is certainly possible as well to meet with the pastor after the baby is born.

3) Parents registered or living in another parish who wish to have their child baptized at St. Leo IV or St. Edmund must first seek and receive permission from the pastor of the church parish in which they are registered or living. They will be expected to complete the preparation program either in this parish or in their home parish if they live a great distance away.

4) What about those Catholics who do not practice their faith and who are not registered in any parish? Sadly, parents will often “shop” around for the easier path to the sacraments. Therefore, to prevent couples from registering as parishioners only to have their baby baptized, those seeking to become parishioners for the sake of baptism will be required to introduce themselves to the pastor after weekend Mass. They will then need to demonstrate their commitment to the parish by attending Mass regularly for at least a month to six weeks. After this time, they may register and schedule an appointment to prepare for baptism.

5) Is that unfair? The church requires the minister of baptism to have a “well-founded hope” that the child will be raised in the faith. No such hope exists for the couple who does not attend Holy Mass and makes no effort to move in that direction.


1) Godparents must be practicing Catholics who are at least 16 years of age and must have received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

2) If godparents are from a parish other than St. Leo IV/St. Edmund, they must have a Sponsor Certificate of Eligibility form signed by their pastor indicating that they are registered parishioners, practicing Catholics and recommended by that pastor as being qualified to serve as a godparent.


How many godparents should there be?

Church law only requires you to have one godparent; however, it has been tradition to have two.

Can the same godparents have responsibility for more than one child in the same family?

Yes, as long as they take seriously their responsibility and intention to help the children grow in faith.

What sex should the godparent be?

If you choose only one godparent, you are free to choose a male or a female. However, if you wish to have two godparents, there must be one male and one female.

Can a non-Catholic serve as a godparent?

While it is ideal for parents to select two Catholic godparents, the church only requires that there be one godparent. A baptized non-Catholic may serve as a “witness” to the ceremony, as long as a Catholic godparent who fully meets all requirements of a godparent is present. The non-Catholic who is selected as a witness should be an active and participating member of his/her church community. During the Baptism, a non-Catholic witness may perform all the parts of the ceremony that a godparent does. His or her name will be entered into the Sacramental Record Book as a “witness,” together with the name of the godparent.

What is the difference between a godparent and a witness?

Witness is the term that is only mentioned in the Code of Canon Law. Canon Law describes a witness as: “A baptized person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community.” A godparent is a confirmed practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church.

Can someone serve as godparent by proxy (stand-in) if they are unable to participate in the baptism ceremony?

If a godparent cannot attend the baptism ceremony, a proxy can stand in the place of the missing godparent. The name of the witness will be entered as proxy in the Sacramental Record Book along with the name of the missing godparent.

If your relationship with a godparent fades or sours after your child is baptized, can you have the record changed in the Sacramental Record Book?

No. The parish Sacramental Record Book is a record of what happened and godparents’ names are a part of it. Baptism records cannot be changed.

Baptism Sponsor Certificate of Eligibility