The Baptism begins when the parents and god-parents bring the child into the church. The priest welcomes them and asks what name they have given the child. He then asks them what they want for their child. To which they answer, “Baptism.”. Welcoming…. “ When two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.” The priest then asks the Godparents are they ready to help the parents and after the Godparents have replied, the child is welcomed to the community by the priest, parents and God-parents making the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. A scripture reading and a short homily then follow.
In preparation for Baptism, the child is now anointed with the Oil of Baptism to help strengthen it through Christ’s power. The oil may be placed on the child’s chest or the child’s forehead. Prayers of the faithful are then said and a short litany of saints Prayers of exorcism are then said for the child
Washing…… “ Baptism, now saves you, not as removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 1.Peter 3:21 Prior to the actual baptizing with water, the priest asks the parents and god parents to renew their own baptismal vows…. The priest now blesses the baptismal water.
The priest now pours the water that he has blessed over the child’s head and says… ‘ I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Worshipping… “ ..no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit...” John 3:5 The child is now anointed on the head with the Oil of Chrism as a formal marking as a Christian
Witnessing “ You are the light of world…Your light must shine that everyone will give the praise to your father in heaven.” The child is now wrapped or dressed in a white garment as a new creation clothed in Christ and given a candle which has been lit from the Pascal Candle .
The priest now says prayers over the child’s ears and mouth. “ The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His words, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” To conclude the rite the priest introduces the Lord’s Prayer by saying that the child will continue its initiation into the Church through confirmation and holy communion. The mother and father are then giving a blessing by the priest. There is also a blessing given to those who are present at the baptism.
Symbolism in Christian Baptism The Sign of the Cross A sign on something shows its origins or ownership. The Sign of the Cross is the mark of Christians. By tracing this sign on the child’s forehead, the priest and parents show that the child belongs to Christ, who will offer his help and grace overcome the difficulties of life. (CCC:1235) Scripture Reading The reading links the ritual to the Gospels, the Word of God The Homily The homily is a short talk by the priest which helps to explain the meaning of the scripture reading and its significance to the rite of baptism and the child’s future life. Back
Prayers of the Faithful These prayers ask for Jesus’ care of the child, its parents and godparents. 1 John 2:1; Litany A list of Saints who are asked to help the child in and after baptism. Saints are more closely united with God and intercede with the Father for us. CCC 956; Rom. 8:26-27 Exorcism Exorcism is the power given by the church to rid an individual of the cause of evil. The coming of God’s kingdom means the defeat of Satan. Jesus’ exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. Mathew 12:26-28 Back
Oil of Baptism The Oil of Baptism, usually olive oil, is a symbol of strengthening and cleansing. Athletes used to rub themselves with oil to strengthen and prepare for the fight ahead, so the child is strengthened by Christ for their coming life. Oil was also used for cleansing…. “ He went over to him, poured water and wine on his wounds and bandaged them;….” Luke 10:34 Oil of Chrism The Oil of Chrism, usually a mixture of olive oil and balsam (a sweet smelling ointment) is a sign of sealing, or anointing, with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “ ..all of us…have been baptized into the body by the same Spirit and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.” 1Cor.12:13 “ God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet smelling fragrance.” 2Cor.2:14 Back Back
Water Water has several symbolic meanings within the rite. Firstly it is a symbol of cleansing. Original sin, our human frailty, is washed away. “ ..he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us.” Titus 3:5 Secondly, water is essential for life as is the life committed to the risen Christ. Thirdly, the water is a symbol of rebirth. The total immersion of a child is not always practical so the pouring over the child’s head is an alternative. When a person emerges from total immersion, it is symbolic of being both reborn and rising from the dead as Christ did. “ For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ and in baptism you were also raised with Christ…..” Col.2:12 Back
The White Garment The white garment, often a shawl or a small poncho like garment, is a symbol of the white clothes worn by first century Christians after baptism. It is a sign that the child has “put on Christ” “ You are Baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak with the life of Christ himself.” Gal. 3:27 The Candle The candle symbolizes Christ – the light of the world. It is a symbolic reminder that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life. The flame symbolizes the faith that will burn through the life of the child. The baptized becomes Christ’s light in the world “ You must shine amongst them like stars lighting the sky” Phil 2:15