“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213)
Many Catholics receive the sacrament of baptism as infants, in the presence of his or her parents and godparents. Through the saving waters of baptism, Catholics believe that we are washed clean from the stain of original sin (caused by the sin of Adam and Eve). The grace we receive in baptism also makes us children of God the Father and welcomes us into the Catholic Church.
These happy events are planned for by notifying the priest before the birth of the infant, so instructions can be arranged. Two evening sessions are given every six weeks or so. Parents must be careful to have at least one godparent who is a practising Catholic. The Church asks parents never to delay this Sacrament without good cause. Parents must register with the Parish Office to attend a "baptism prep", a one hour talk by the pastor. Fee: $50.
Yes, in fact we recommend doing so.
There are two to three meetings required before an infant is baptized. Older child/adult baptisms usually require months of preparation and may require other courses like Catechism (PREP) and RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).
The Rite of Baptism indicates that it should be celebrated in a parish church. We do not celebrate baptisms outside of a church, except in cases of family illness or emergencies.
The Church asks that a child have at least one Catholic godparent who is baptized, confirmed, and living his/her faith. The other godparent, formally known as a sponsor, may be a “Christian witness” who need not be Catholic. Someone may “stand in” (act as a proxy) for a godparent who is not able to be present at the Baptism.