Planning a Baptism: Finding a Church

20 February 2015

A bit of panic ensued when we found out that due to a decree by the Catholic Archdiocese in 2011, parishes can only baptize residents within the boundary of the church's assigned area.

What this means is that a baby can only be baptized at the nearest church where the family resides. Since we are currently staying in Alabang Hills Village, the closest one is Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hillsborough Village. I attended a public baptism there once and found it to be quite chaotic. They give a short talk for the godparents on their duties before the ceremony and the lady who conducted it sounded like she was selling fish at the wet market. Unfortunately, they do not offer solo or private baptisms.

My sister and I both had private baptisms and I find that this is more solemn than the public version where all you think of is getting out of there as quickly as possible due to how crowded the place can get.

You could have your baptism elsewhere provided you can obtain a permission letter, but they refused to give one as they advised they are not allowed to give such letters out. My question is, if priests are banned from issuing permit letters, then why is it even listed as an option? Why not just dictate outright that people don't have a choice?

Luckily for us, if you are based abroad, you can skip this requirement and have the freedom to choose your own baptism venue. In our case, we decided on Santuario de San Antonio as they have their own baptistery (see photo below), it's easy to get to (especially for the godparents who all live north of Manila), and there are many restaurants nearby for the reception.

Other venues we considered were Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church and St. James the Great Parish, but both do not offer private baptisms. St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish in Magallanes does, but our guests would have to make a u-turn on the South Luzon Expressway just to get back to Makati (if I remember correctly). The National Shrine of the Sacred Heart also provides solo baptisms but the place is not that easy to locate especially if you're unfamiliar with the area.

Reservation Requirements:

1. Photocopy of Birth Certificate
2. Permission letter from your respective parish
3. List of names of godparents (maximum of 5 pairs)
4. Completed Baptismal Form
5. Non-refundable contribution of Php 4000

It is stated on their website that the requirements must be complete before you can make a reservation. But Edna, the lady in-charge, allowed us to just pay the fee and submit the baptismal form first when we explained that we have to return to Singapore as soon as possible (thus the need to plan everything in advance). They allow for a date change as long as the schedule you want is available.

We will be bringing our own priest, Rev. Msgr. Vicente Bauson, who also happens to be a family friend and the one who married us.

Update: It turns out that only our parish priest was problematic. I have a friend who lives in Pasig and she was able to get a permission letter quite easily for her son's baptism.

1 comment:

Zonia Cruz said...

Santuario de San Antonio is air-conditioned so you won’t have to worry about getting married in the hottest of summer. It has ample parking space for guests and is easily accessible through public transport through the Fort Bonifacio City Bus or the jeepneys plying the MRT – Market-Market route.

For further inquiries you may contact the Santuario de San Antonio Parish at:
Santuario de San Antonio Parish
McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City
Telephone: (02) 843-8830 | (02) 843-8831