How to Create a Catholic Baptismal Certificate
By Linda Johnson
A Catholic baptismal certificate is a meaningful symbol of a child's new life in God. It can also be a thing of beauty to frame or keep in the baby's scrapbook. Graphic design, desktop publishing and word processing programs provide templates for creating certificates, complete with fancy fonts and borders already selected. However, you can make your own Catholic baptismal certificate in Microsoft Word or another word processing program without a template by including these simple elements.
Go to "File," click "New," then click "Blank document" in Microsoft Word.
Go to "File," click "Page Setup," and choose "Landscape" orientation. Set margins at 0.5 inches all around. In Word, you will receive a warning that your margins are set outside the printable area. Click "Fix," and you will see a slight adjustment in your right margin.
Go to "Format" and click "Borders and Shading" in Word. The dialogue box will open, displaying the "Page Border" tab. Scroll down the "Style" menu to choose a simple border in yellow gold.
Give your Catholic baptismal certificate an uncluttered two column design so that you can display a religious picture on the left, and the information about the baby's baptism on the right. Click the "Table" icon on the toolbar. In the drop-down, set up the table with two columns and one row. Expand the row to fill the column to the bottom margin. The table will display on your page evenly dividing it down the middle, but you can adjust it later.
Go online and do a search for free images of Jesus with children, or other image. Download the picture you choose and save it to your "Pictures" folder. An example is shown in the first reference below.
Go to "Insert," and click "Picture." Select the picture you downloaded and click "Open." Scale the picture so it fills the left side of your certificate. You can move the center line of your table to keep the picture proportional.
Place your cursor in the right side of the table. Type in the heading "Certificate of Baptism" and center it in the right hand space, about a half-inch below the top margin. Set the type in 22 to 28 point size using a script font such as "Edwardian Script" in a navy blue or black to coordinate with your picture. Under that, in the same font, type "According to the Rite of the Roman Catholic Church" and set it to the width of the line above, probably 18 points.
Double space down and use the underscore key to make a line across the column as wide as the text line above. The underscores in the certificate represent information that will be filled in later; the first line is where the child's name will be written.
Type "Born in the __ day of ___" in the next line in a navy blue or black font that coordinates with the dominant colors in your picture. Use the same font on the next line for the location of the baby's birth. Type "In ______ " (location of birth).
Type "Child of _________" in the next line (parents' names).
Type and center the words "was baptized" and change the font color to a yellow gold in the next line; then type and center "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" also in gold in the next line.
Type "By_______" in the next line and go back to the navy blue or black font (priest or officiating pastor's name).
Type "On the _ day of ____ " in the next line (date of baptism).
Type "Godparents _____" in the next line (godparents' names).
Add a favorite scripture about children in a charcoal grey or lighter blue on the next line, such as Luke 18:16: "Jesus sent for them, saying, Let the children come to me, and do not keep them away, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Go to "File" and click "Print Preview." Carefully view your certificate to see if the spacing, font shades and sizes are pleasing to the eye. Then print the certificate or continue editing if you want to make changes.
Save and name your baptismal certificate file on your computer.
- If you prefer, you can type in the child's name, birth date and location, the parents' name, the priest's name, the baptismal date, and the godparents' names on the certificate rather than having them filled in later by hand.
- Do not change fonts in the certificate but use the same one throughout for consistency. Use only one color for the basic text and underscores, plus the gold for the script in step 11 and a lighter tone for the scripture.
- Print at least two copies of the child's baptismal certificate in case of error when being completed by hand.
Linda Johnson is a veteran writer and Photoshop and Illustrator aficionado. She is a TV-radio producer, ad agency owner and a winner of Addy Awards and the First Place Award for Best National Public Service Film. In addition to Johnson's online work, her writing has appeared in "Poetry Guide," the "Indianapolis Star" and Indianapolis Dine magazine.