"The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters.

In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever deeper love (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)."

Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church's way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.

Baptisms at St. John Neumann

Baptism Preparation is grounded in the belief that marriage and family are foundation stones of the Catholic Church's growth and strength. The growth begins at Baptism and the strength comes through parents committed to passing on their Catholic faith. Baptism is only the beginning of a lifelong commitment; not a one day ceremony. To assure the sacrament is celebrated in full knowledge and acceptance of the serious responsibilities incurred by parents and godparents, Saint John Neumann, like all Catholic parishes, requires parent and godparent formation before the celebration of the sacrament.

Steps of Parent and Godparent Preparation

Families must be registered and participating in the Parish for at least 3 months before attending the required preparation class. Expectant parents are encouraged to attend class before the birth of their child.

You will need the forms and toolkit from the Diocese of Richmond.

Step 1: Attend Baptismal Preparation Classes

  • Baptismal Preparation Classes are normally held on the second Monday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the Multipurpose Room. Since our schedule changes from time to time, please contact Lee Mecca in the SJN office to confirm the date of the next scheduled class, and to enroll in the class. Classes will be cancelled if no one is enrolled by Wednesday of the week prior. To view an outline of what is covered in the Baptism preparation class, see below.

  • Please also see the diocesan website for Godparent/Sponsor Attestation forms and Toolkits. You will need to have the Godparent forms filled out by the Godparents before Baptism can be scheduled.

  • To enroll in the class contact Lee Mecca in the SJN office (804) 598-3754.

Step 2: Schedule an interview with our pastor, Fr. Walter Lewis

  • To schedule an appointment with Fr. Lewis, call the office at: (804) 598-3754 or email him at: He keeps his own schedule, so this is the best way.

  • Fr. Lewis will spend some time with the parents so that he can know them. In addition, he is discerning that the parents are active participants in parish life and that the godparents understand and meet the qualifications to undertake their important role.

  • If the family is returning to the Church, Father Lewis will attempt to assist them in getting involved and provide resources for the parents and/or godparents.

  • Fr. Lewis will explain the monthly schedule for Baptisms celebrated during Sunday liturgy and why community celebration is important.

Step 3: Scheduling the Baptism

  • Make sure you have all the forms ready and the Baptism Register Data form given to Lee.

  • Contact Lee Mecca in the SJN office (804) 598-3754.

Step 4: On The Day of the Baptism

  • Arrive at church 25 minutes early. This will allow for some procedural instructions and time to assure the godparents understand their roles of presenting the gifts at the Offertory (can be other family members) and presenting the lighted candle toward the end of Mass.

What is covered in the Baptism preparation class?

The class consists of:

    1. Welcome, Introductions and Faith Sharing.

    2. DVD on Baptism

    3. Pre-Baptismal blessing of unbaptized children and their parents.

    4. Presentation and discussion on the Sacrament of Baptism

    5. A walk-through in the church to review Baptism procedures.

For older children or adults please see the information on the RCIA program