About Holy Baptism

In the tradition of the Episcopal Church, baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit, into the Christian faith and life. People often ask about the cost of baptism. It’s both free and priceless. Baptism is also God’s free gift of love. Through baptism one becomes a member of Christ’s Body, the Church.

Baptism is not agreeing to an intellectual proposition; nor is it joining a club or social organization. It is incorporation in God’s own life. In baptism we are assured of acceptance as God’s children and are marked, claimed and made Christ’s own forever. Something so important deserves careful and deliberate preparation and commitment.

The Episcopal Church teaches that infants, children and adults may be baptized. Baptismal vows are made on behalf of infants or young children by their parents and sponsors. Older children and adults make their own promises. Because baptism is the outward and visible action that connects a person to God in a covenant relationship, it belongs in public worship, rather than private ceremony. As such, baptisms are offered in the context of the Holy Eucharist. At the service, members of the congregation renew their own baptismal vows and welcome the newly baptized into the community of faith.

Requesting Holy Baptism

The Cathedral administers the Sacrament of Holy Baptism on the days recommended in the Book of Common Prayer: All Saints’ Day in the fall, the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord in January, at the Great Vigil of Easter in the spring, and the Day of Pentecost in the early summer. In addition to these dates, baptism is also offered on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany and the second Sunday in July.

A request form (available below) must be completed for each baptismal candidate and returned at least six weeks prior to the baptism date.

Upon receipt of your application, a letter of confirmation will be sent to you. A member of the clergy will also contact you to answer any questions you may have.

Who may request Holy Baptism?

→ Members of the Cathedral Congregation:

  • We believe baptism is an act of community, and the baptismal candidates and/or their families are encouraged to become part of this community prior to seeking baptism with us.
  • All those seeking baptism for themselves or their child must first meet with a member of the Cathedral clergy to discuss their desire for baptism.
  • Members of the Congregation are expected to support this worshipping community, including contributing to the Annual Congregation Stewardship Campaign.
  • We believe baptism is the rite of initiation into the Body of Christ. Families who are not interested in ongoing, active participation in the Cathedral Congregation are urged to seek out their local parish.

→ Alumni/alumnae of St. Alban’s School or National Cathedral School

Baptism Preparation

To fulfill the charge in The Book of Common Prayer which states that “parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church,” participation in a 1.5 hour preparation meeting is required for parents and recommended for godparents.

This preparation class takes place the weekend of the baptism. Participants will be notified of the day and time in advance. Parents and godparents will have the opportunity to explore the meaning of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and the commitment they are making, study the liturgy itself, and meet other baptismal candidates and their families. The preparation class also includes a baptism rehearsal in the Cathedral. The person to be baptized, family members, and sponsors who are in town, are expected to attend. This is a time to work out the logistics for the next day’s service and to answer any final questions.

There is special age-appropriate preparation for children who are old enough to speak for themselves (approximately 4 years and older).

2023–2024 Holy Baptism Schedule

November 5, 2023: All Saints’ Sunday, 11:15 am
Mandatory prep class: Saturday, November 4

January 7, 2024: The First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord, 11:15 am
Mandatory prep class: Saturday, January 6

March 30, 2024: The Great Vigil of Easter, 8 pm
(teenagers and adult candidates only)
Prep class: Those wishing to be baptized at this service take part in a multi-part class over the course of Lent.

May 19, 2024: The Day of Pentecost, 11:15 am
Mandatory prep class: Saturday, May 18

July 7, 2024: The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, 11:15 am
Mandatory prep class: Saturday, July 6

Holy Baptism Request Form