The community of St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church is delighted that you are planning to have your child baptized at St. Mary’s.  We pray that as your child approaches the Sacrament, all members of your family will move closer to the Giver of the Gift in gratitude.

Scheduling Your Child’s Baptism

In order to schedule a baptism date, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Be a REGISTERED member of St. Mary’s parish.  *Registration forms are available HERE on the website or in the Parish Office or we can mail one to you. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.  *Occasionally, with the written permission of their home parish, adult children of registered members may return to St. Mary’s to have their own child baptized.
  1. Attend a BAPTISM CLASS. In order that we may actively participate in the Rite of Baptism, and so that they may be fully aware of their obligations, parents of the child to be baptized are required to attend a baptismal preparation class at the parish.  Godparents may also attend.  Classes are held on the third Monday of each month in the Conference Room between 7:30 and 8:30 PM.  Please call the church to verify the time and date as occasional changes may be made.  Please leave your name, phone number and email with the receptionist for the month you will attend.  You are strongly encouraged to attend this class before the baby is born.  Attendance at this class within the last five years meets this requirement. You may take this class at another parish if you are living in another area.  A statement that you have attended the class there is required from the parish.
  2. Return the completed BAPTISM INFORMATION FORM and a copy of your child’s BIRTH CERTIFICATE to baptism@stmaryofsorrows.org with “Baptism” in the subject line. The form and a copy of the birth certificate may also be mailed to or dropped off for the Baptism Coordinator at the Parish Center office (5222 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, VA 22032)
  1. Provide STATEMENT OF ELIGIBILITY for Roman Catholic Sponsors (Godparents). One of the godparents must be CatholicEach Catholic sponsor must have a statement of eligibility. Statements of eligibility are not required for those who are “Christian Witnesses” (non-Catholic Christian individuals).  The statement of eligibility is obtained from the parish where the sponsor is currently registered. These statements take a while to obtain and it is advisable to contact the appropriate church as soon as you have selected the godparents. This will help avoid any delays in scheduling a date.  We must have the hardcopy statement issued by the parish; fax copies are not sufficient.  IT IS IMPORTANT THAT ALL STATEMENTS INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE CHILD TO BE BAPTIZED AND ARE SENT TO: St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church, Attention Baptism Coordinator, 5222 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, VA 22032-2640.

Once these steps have been completed, the information will be reviewed by a priest. You will then be called to reserve a date for the Baptism.

Where and When

The Rite of Baptism is celebrated at the New Church on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at 10:30 AM.  As this is a communal celebration, we may have present as many as six children and their families.


The ordinary celebrant of the Sacrament of Baptism is either a priest or a deacon.  The parish has a regular schedule of celebrants for the sacrament; however, if a Catholic priest or deacon who is a family member or friend is asked to be a guest celebrant, he is welcome to celebrate the sacrament here at St. Mary’s.  You may schedule the Baptism at the Parish Center at a time agreeable to the celebrant and the parish schedule.


It is a very ancient custom of the Church that one is admitted to Baptism with one sponsor (godparent), a member of the Roman Catholic Church who will assist the parents in the preparation for baptism.   By good example, he/she will help the new member of the Church practice the faith.

In the baptism of children, the sponsor (godparent) should be present to be added spiritually to the immediate family of the one to be baptized and to represent the larger family of the Church.  The godparent should be ready to help the parents bring up their child to profess the faith.  Parents are ineligible to be godparents of their own children.

Qualifications (Canon 873 & 874 of 1083 Code of Canon Law “Catholic Church law”)
Only one Roman Catholic Sponsor (Godparent) is required, but no more than 2 are permitted.

  1. If you have two, one must be male and the other female.
  2. Sponsors must be practicing Catholics who are baptized, confirmed, and 16 years of age (minimum), and, if married, must be married in the Catholic Church. Non-Catholic Christians are considered “Christian Witnesses” (see below).
  3. The Catholic sponsor(s) will need to provide us with a statement from the parish where he/she is currently registered stating his/her eligibility to be a sponsor for baptism.
  4. If your sponsor(s) is/are not able to be present for the baptism, a proxy must be chosen. All requirements for sponsors apply to the proxy.

Christian Witness

Once the required Roman Catholic sponsor has been selected, the parents may also choose one member of the opposite sex as a Christian Witness.  The witness will stand and respond with the sponsor during the Baptismal Rite.  The Christian Witness must be baptized and living in conformity with the Gospel.  An eligibility statement is not required.


If you have any questions, please call the Baptism Coordinator at the Parish Office at (703) 978-4141.birth