The Sacraments

The Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded of you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  Baptism is the first sacrament celebrated in the process of becoming a full member of the Church community. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Baptism, like all the sacraments of the Church, is a gift from God. In Baptism we use water which is a universal symbol. Water is absolutely essential for all life. Water cleanses and restores. It is the waters of Baptism which give us new life. In accordance, through Baptism we also die to our old sinful selves in order to be restored and resurrected in the new life of Christ.

“The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1279

Registered parishioners are encouraged to have their children baptized at St. Joseph’s. Non-Parishioners are invited to register as Parishioners. Baptisms take place on Saturday mornings or on Sundays after the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

In preparing for your child’s baptism:
Parents must be active, registered parishioners at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Parents and godparents are required to attend the Pre-Baptismal Program prior to the ceremony. Call the Parish Office to register. If the godparent is from out of town, we would appreciate if he or she would attend a class at one’s local parish and send us a letter of good standing to that effect.
Some useful hints:

Choosing Godparents: There are two godparents only, who should be chosen based on one’s ability to help you raise your child in the belief and teachings of the Catholic Church. Godparents are active, registered parishioners of their parish; they must be both baptized Christians and Catholic.


  • Have you filled out the Baptismal Questionnaire with someone from the Faith Formation Office and confirmed the date and time of the Baptismal ceremony?
  • Have you attended the Pre-Baptismal Program?
  • Have the godparents attended the Pre-Baptismal Program?
  • Have you sent in letters of good standing for the godparents from out-of-town?

For older children age 7 and up seeking baptism:

RCIA (adapted for older children) requires participation in Family and Children’s Faith Formation (FCFF) or Youth Ministry. Additional baptismal preparation sessions for children candidates and parents will be scheduled accordingly. Contact the Director for Religious Education at the Parish Office.

For adults age 18 and up seeking baptism: 

Please see the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program.

  Planning to get married? Congratulations! We rejoice with you! We hope you will use this special time to deepen your relationship with God and with each other. A wedding is only for a day; a marriage is for a lifetime. Some people wish to marry at St. Joseph’s; others wish to be married elsewhere. Some mixed-religion couples wish to be married by a different minister rather than a Catholic priest or deacon, but want their marriage recognized by the Church. Whatever your circumstances, we wish to be of service. 

Marriage preparation:

Marriage requires preparation. The policy in the Diocese of Syracuse requires a minimum six-month preparation period. We can best serve you at St. Joseph’s, if:

  •  You are already registered parishioners (at least one year) or you live within the parish boundaries.
  • You are an associate member who has the permission of your own pastor.
  • You are someone who has a special circumstance. Please, explain your circumstances to the Pastor in writing, and secure at a later date the permission of your own pastor.

Do you plan to marry at another parish?

We will prepare your required paperwork here and send it to the parish where you will be married. Unless stated otherwise, we expect you to attend pre-Cana here as well as preparation meetings with the pastor or deacon. Talk to the priest or deacon assigned about what arrangements can be made.

What are the steps?

  1. If you are not a parishioner or an associate member, please write a letter directly to the pastor to explain your special circumstances. You will be contacted soon. Remember, no wedding date can be set until both parties are free to marry; the timing will vary depending on the case.
  2. Get your paperwork in order and attend the introductory wedding class (Pre-Cana). This weekend-long class both explains the process and provides an introduction to marriage.
  3. Schedule your regular meetings (at least three) with the priest or deacon assigned to you. These meetings will explore the spirituality of the marriage, deepening your relationship, handling conflict and improving your communication.
  4. There are various programs you may want to consider exploring together with the priest or the deacon such as FOCCUS, which provide a wonderful opportunity for you as a couple to learn each other’s ideas about the different aspects that make a good marriage, and to identify those areas that still need to be discussed.
  5. Plan the Wedding Ceremony if you are marrying at St. Joseph’s. Choose readings and prayers with your priest or deacon.

What paperwork is required?

Paperwork is always required! Please get the paperwork as soon as possible. Don’t delay to the end.

  1. Catholics will have to secure a re-issued Baptismal Certificate from the parish of the Baptism. Parishes need only be contacted, and they usually send the form to you or to us quickly.
  2. If one of the couple is Baptized non-Catholic, any Baptismal Record, or photocopy of one, will suffice. Failing that an affidavit of a parent or attendee will suffice.
  3. Work on the Investigation Forms (1 for bride & 1 for groom) with the parish priest/deacon. We provide these forms.
  4. If one of the couple is not a Catholic, we will secure permission to marry a non-Catholic. You should have discussed in advance the issue of rearing the children as Catholic.
  5. If you are marrying outside the diocese, we will need to know the name of the one presiding over the ceremony, the parish, the place and the date of the wedding.
  6. Some couples who are marrying a non-Catholic wish to have their marriage celebrated by a non-Catholic minister, or by a Justice of the Peace. We will need to know the reasons for this special request so that we can seek the required dispensation. Please supply the name of one presiding over the ceremony as well as the place and date of the marriage so that it can be properly registered.
  7. If either party has been previously married, and the former spouse is still living, then additional steps need to be taken. The steps and timetable required will depend on the particular case. Contact the parish priest/deacon (607-748-0442) to answer any questions.

Sacrament of Sick or Visit:

Please notify us by calling the Parish Office (748-0442) when a parishioner is hospitalized, or when someone is confined at home because of illness, handicapped or age.

Anointing of the sick:

This sacrament is for the elderly, the seriously ill, or those scheduled for surgery. The rite of Anointing of the Sick is offered by special appointment with one of our parish priests. Contact the parish office at (607) 748-0442.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the Catholic Church.

 “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age. The proper time for receiving this holy anointing has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age. Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens.

The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:

  • the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
  • the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
  • the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Reconciliation(Confession/Penance );
  • the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
  • the preparation for passing over to eternal life.