The parents and the priest first welcome the guests and sign the child with the cross. Scriptural readings and discussion of what baptism means follows. Next, the child is baptized, and the godparents promise to help the child be faithful to the religion. The baptism of a child in the Catholic faith is a major life event for the family, so it is often followed by a large celebration.
Generally, the baptism is performed on a Sunday before or after mass. Parents arrange a date with the priest. Catholic guests are encouraged both to live faithfully as an example for the child and to help the child live faithfully throughout life. Godparents are recognized at the end of the ceremony, and they promise to help raise the child as a faithful participant in the Catholic faith.
Each parish has different requirements as to when baptisms occur, how they are structured and who participates in the ceremony. Priests can answer questions as to the acceptability of godparents, the timing of the ceremony and exactly what happens at a baptism. Most priests are happy to help with situations such as interfaith marriages and make guests who are not Catholic feel comfortable and included in the ceremony.