Baptism is a rite within the Christian tradition that is approached in many different ways, but the connection with water is not lost on our nautical community. The pedestal for the font in St. Andrews Chapel comes from our oldest commissioned ship in the Navy, the USS CONSTITUTION. To say that it is unlike any other baptismal font anywhere is a tremendous understatement.
In the Christian faith traditions, baptism is a very important milestone, and, as such, the chaplains at the Naval Academy treat it with every dignity and respect that it is due. Independent of an individual's faith preference we will make every effort to accommodate your request, but we also need your help.
First, we need to determine if you are an authorized patron. Because of the sheer volume of requests at the Naval Academy we are more limiting than other military installations out of necessity. An authorized patron at the Naval academy will be at least one of the below:
- An alumnus of the Naval Academy.
- Someone currently directly serving in some capacity at the Naval Academy or Naval Support Activity Annapolis - active duty or civilian.
- An active, currently worshipping member of one of the defined congregations of the Naval Academy as defined in Naval Academy instructions.
- The immediate dependent child of one of the above, currently residing in your home.
- A midshipman currently attending the Naval Academy.
Second, we need to determine the faith / religious preference under which you wish to be baptized or have your child baptized. Each faith community has specific requirements that must be adhered to for baptism. One of these requirements, independent of faith community, is pre-baptismal counseling either for the person to be baptized, their parents or both. Currently, the Naval Academy offers the possibility for baptism in the following worshipping communities:
- Catholic - infant or adult baptism
- Protestant - infant baptism or adult baptism
- Protestant - adult / believer's baptism by immersion
- Eastern Orthodox - infant or adult baptism
Because of the setup and logistical requirements, the adult / believer's baptism in the Protestant community will normally only be conducted on or around Easter each year. However, chaplains from these traditions are ready to help candidates for this form of baptism at times other than Easter as needed.
Catholic and Protestant, infant or adult baptisms are typically conducted in the St Andrews Chapel on the lower level of the main chapel. Normally, the Protestant services are conducted on the 3rd Sunday of each month and the Catholic services are conducted on the 4th Sunday of each month unless these dates conflict with holidays. Protestant baptismal services will be conducted at 1300 on the third Sunday of the Month. For Catholic baptisms we ask the family to attend the 1130 mass in St Andrews Chapel which will be immediately followed by the baptismal portion of the service in St Andrews Chapel.
Baptisms in the Eastern Orthodox tradition will be scheduled on an as needed basis, but will typically take place in the All Faiths Chapel in Mitscher adjacent to the Laboon Center.
Third, to begin the scheduling process for your baptism request, please contact the coordinator for Catholic Baptisms or Protestant Baptisms. The Religious Program Specialist (RPs) will assist you in providing the appropriate information sheet for you to fill out, and connecting you with the presiding chaplain to begin pre-baptismal counseling requirements. Please let the RPs know your faith preference, your eligibility status as an authorized patron, and an approximate date for the requested baptism. He will then send you the requisite information sheets; no baptisms will be considered scheduled until receipt of the finalized information sheets.
For scheduling and pre-baptismal counseling purposes, make your requests at least 60 days in advance of your requested date. This allows us the most flexibility to meet your desired date; waiting to make your request will significantly hinder our ability to accommodate your request.