For baptisms in Engish contact Deacon Phil at 805-276-3799
For baptisms in Spanish contact Fr. Fernando by calling (805) 646-4338 ext. 103
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)
The sacrament of baptism ushers us into the divine life, cleanses us from sin, and initiates us as members of the Christian community. It is the foundation for the sacramental life.
At baptism, the presider prays over the water:
Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Holy Spirit give to this water the grace of your Son, so that in the sacrament of baptism all those whom you have created in your likeness may be cleansed from sin and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit. (Christian Initiation of Adults, #222A)
Freed from Sin
Baptism frees us from the bondage of original and actual sin. Water is poured in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the sacrament of baptism is often performed on infants, shortly after birth. Adult baptisms take place at the Easter Vigil through the restored Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Adults or children who have been baptized in a valid Christian church are not baptized again in the Catholic church. As we say in the Nicene Creed, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins…”
The Catechism teaches:
"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1279).
Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as are reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are seven requirements to have a child baptized at St. Thomas Aquinas:
- One of the child’s biological or adoptive parents must present the child for baptism. Proof of the parental relationship is evidenced by a birth or adoption certificate, a copy of which must be provided to the parish office. Another form of proof issued by the hospital may be used if a birth certificate has not yet been issued.
- There must be a founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith. A founded hope is determined by the priest or deacon and may be formed by evidence of the parent's and/or godparents partaking of the sacraments and active practice of their Catholic faith. If a founded hope is lacking as determined by the priest or deacon then the baptism will be delayed.
- There must be at least one sponsor (god parent) who is a fully initiated Catholic (received the sacrament of confirmation) and is actively practicing their faith. Proof of a fully initiated Catholic is evidenced by a confirmation certificate, a copy of which must be provided to the parish office. See the FAQ below for more information on godparents.
- The parents and godparents must attend a Baptism Preparation Class so that they fully understand the sacrament of baptism and their responsibilities as parents and godparents to raise their child in the faith. See the FAQ below for more information on the Baptism Preparation Class.
- Baptism begins the child's initiation into their Catholic community and therefore should take place in the family’s home parish. If St. Thomas is not the family's home parish then a permission letter from the pastor of their home parish to perform the baptism is required. See the FAQ below for an explanation of why the letter is needed.
- Complete the online baptism registration form. A link can be found in the right hand margin of this webpage.
- Pay the fee for baptism. See the FAQ below for more information.
Click the button below for more information on infant baptisms.
Yes, anyone can be baptized. Jesus invites everyone into his kingdom.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands his disciples to "go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The Catholic Church recognizes all baptisms that are done in the name of all three persons of the Holy Trinity.
No. Baptism is an action of the Holy Spirit, not of human beings. For that reason a single baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is all that is needed.
The short answer is yes but their are some exceptions. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states "God has bound salvation to the Sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments" (CCC 1257).
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.
How Do I Get Baptized?
For children up to age 7 the decision to be baptized is up to the parents. Baptisms are normally performed on the first Saturday of the month in Spanish and the second Saturday of the month in English. The requirements for baptism are:
- One of the child's biological or adoptive parents must present the child for baptism.
- There must be a founded hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith.
- There must be at least one sponsor (god parent) who is a confirmed Catholic actively participating in their faith.
- The parents must attend a baptism preparation class
Click on the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.
Children who have reached age 7 are considered by the Church to have reached the age of discernment and are able to take responsibility for their own actions and make their own decisions with regard to a profession of faith. For that reason the decision to be baptized is their own. Given their youth, there is a special process for helping them to discern and prepare for baptism. Parents, if your child is interested in being baptized please contact us so that we can help them get started. It is never too late to baptize your children.
For more information please contact Aina Yates our Director of Religous Education. Click the button below for the staff directory.
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. Click the button below for more information.