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Donald wrote:

Hi, guys —

Many years ago, while looking after my infant granddaughter, I baptized her with some holy water from Lourdes, France. I am a practicing Catholic as is my wife.

My granddaughter is now 17 years old and her mother, who is a practicing Christian, is very upset because her daughter does not want to be baptized.

  • Should I tell my daughter what I did 17 years ago and is such a baptism recognized?


  { Should I tell her what I did when she was an infant and is another baptism needed? }

Bob replied:


If the baptism you performed followed the correct form and matter then it was valid.

That being said, it was probably not licit. If you had complete custody of the child and had the authority and intent to raise her as a Catholic then the logical and right thing would have been to bring her to the Church for baptism.

The home or personal version you utilized is only for grave circumstances or emergencies.

Now that's water under the bridge. (No pun intended.) Your relationship with your daughter and granddaughter may suffer a set back if a breach of trust has happened in their eyes. I suggest that you proceed humbly and apologetically, acknowledging that you hadn't thought it all through but just wanted what you considered best for her.

How they move forward is an issue for mother and daughter to work out. It is doubtful that your granddaughter will choose to be a full Catholic at this stage of life, but you can continue to bear witness to her, especially talking about the love of God; this is what teens need to hear most.

God bless you.

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Donald,

I would agree with my colleague Bob has said but the conditional question that still remains is:

  • Was the baptism performed following the correct form and matter?

[See Paul's reply.]

If your daughter is in a state of life where she has little interest in the Church, you may want to share with her that if, in the future, she wishes to be confirmed or get married in the Church, they will first look for her Baptismal records, as they are required by Canon law.

Whenever you share, share in charity, communicating the intent, that you just want what is best for her.

Don't burn any family bridges. Rather share, if she is interested in marrying, the importance of having that powerful bonding glue that sacramental Marriage provides in the Church. Through the sacrament of Marriage, Jesus is swearing an oath to married couples to help them through their tough times.

I hope this helps,


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