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RITE OF BAPTISM

Our Birth As Christians


Baptism is our birth as Christians, our birth as “other Christs.” Through many centuries Christians loved to view the baptismal font as the womb of holy Mother Church; for at the font her children come forth alive with a new and higher life —that of God Himself.

This second birth into God’s own family at the sacred font is the source of new and wonderful privileges. The first of the baptismal graces which needs emphasis in twentieth-century United States is that of our incorporation into Christ, the fact of the Mystical Body. 

Baptism makes us members of Christ: “We were all baptized into one Body . . . you are the Body of Christ and severally His members” (1 Cor. 12:13, 27). Our head is Christ, and consequently the thoughts which fill our minds must be His thoughts: “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). As in a body many cells share the same dignity, so the many individuals who form Christ’s Body all share the same godlike dignity; there is then no place for mutual indignities or antagonisms; fraternal charity must reign supreme. Because Baptism has made us all one in Christ, the efforts of each are to the advantage of all, the suffering of one brings tears to many, a single song of praise gladdens countless hearts.

Baptism, secondly, makes us the dwelling-place of the most Blessed Trinity, makes each of us a holy temple, for “holy is the temple of God, and this temple you are” (1 Cor. 3:17). God’s active, energizing presence in the baptized soul transforms it into a creature most pleasing to Himself. Too frequently we may have limited our attention to the negative aspect of holy Baptism, that is, its power to remit sin and to cleanse away all guilt. More marvelous is its fulfillment of Jesus’ last prayer: 

“If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will make our abode with him” (St. John 14:23). And where Father and Son are, their Spirit must of necessity be: “Do you not know that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). As we become conscious of this unspeakable gift our hearts spontaneously welcome the command: “Glorify and bear God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:10). 

Though Baptism confers such great gifts, it is not a final stage in God’s generosity toward us — it is only a beginning. Baptism plants the seed, the remaining sacraments bring it to harvest. All the sacraments are directed toward the Holy Eucharist, particularly Baptism. Baptism gives me the right to receive the Holy Eucharist while the Holy Eucharist preserves and makes fruitful my baptismal privileges. Baptism, by making me share in the priesthood of Christ through the “character” it imprints, enables me to share in the offering of the one only Sacrifice; by offering this Sacrifice with Christ I again renew my baptismal descent with Christ into death in order to rise again with Him in newness of life. Baptism makes me a cell in Christ’s Body, the Eucharist nourishes that cell, makes it healthy, makes it function in a loving, sacrificial spirit of unity with countless other cells, makes it ever a more fitting dwelling for the triune God.

Baptism is our birth as Christians. A little reflection, and this age-old truth becomes fresh and dynamic. Its power produced the Age of Martyrs and the glories of patristic Christianity. If we but give holy Baptism the thought and attention it deserves, its power will vitalize and transform our weak devotions into a spirituality strong with the strength of Christ our Head and holy with the holiness of the indwelling Trinity. Its power will make us pleasing and acceptable to the eternal Father, for through it we have been enabled to offer the perfect Sacrifice in and through His Son Christ Jesus. Truly, holy Baptism is a great sacrament, making us Christians, making us “a kingdom of priests, a holy people” (1 Pet. 2:9). 

RITE OF BAPTISM FOR ONE CHILD 

RECEPTION OF THE CHILD 

If possible, baptism should take place on Sunday, the day on which the Church celebrates the paschal mystery. It should be conferred in a communal celebration in the presence of the faithful, or at least of relatives, friends, and neighbors, who are all to take an active part in the rite.

It is the role of the father and mother, accompanied by the god-parents, to present the child to the Church for baptism. The people may sing a psalm or hymn suitable for the occasion. Meanwhile the celebrating priest or deacon, vested in alb or surplice, with a stole (with or without a cope) of festive color, and accompanied by the ministers, goes to the entrance of the church or to that part of the church where the parents and godparents are waiting with the child.

The celebrant greets all present, and especially the parents and godparents, reminding them briefly of the joy with which the parents welcomed this child as a gift from God, the source of life, who now wishes to bestow his own life on this little one. 

First the celebrant questions the parents: 

Celebrant: What name do you give your child? (or: have you given?)

Parents:           N. 

Celebrant: What do you ask of God’s Church for N.?

Parents:           Baptism. 

The celebrant may choose other words for this dialogue.

The first reply may be given by someone other than the parents if local custom gives him the right to name the child.

In the second response the parents may use other words, such as faith or the grace of Christ or entrance into the Church or eternal life. 

The celebrant speaks to the parents in these or similar words: 

You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Parents:           We do. 

Then the celebrant turns to the godparents and addresses them in these or similar words: 

Are you ready to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?

Godparents:     We are. 

The celebrant continues: 

N., the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of his cross. I now trace the cross on your forehead, and invite your parents (and godparents) to do the same. 

He signs the child on the forehead, in silence. Then he invites the parents and (if it seems appropriate) the godparents to do the same.

The celebrant invites the parents, godparents, and the others to take part in the liturgy of the word. 

CELEBRATION OF GOD’S WORD 

SCRIPTURAL READINGS AND HOMILY 

One or even two gospel passages are read, during which all may sit if convenient.

+ A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew 28:18-20

The apostles are sent to preach the gospel and to baptize Jesus who came forward and addressed the eleven disciples in these words: “Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name ‘of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” 

Alternate choices of readings, together with responsorial psalms and verses before the gospel, are given below.

After the reading, the celebrant gives a short homily, explaining to those present the significance of what has been read. His purpose will be to lead them to a deeper understanding of the mystery of baptism and to encourage the parents and godparents to a ready acceptance of the responsibilities that arise from the sacrament.

After the homily, or in the course of or after the litany, it is desirable to have a period of silence while all pray at the invitation of the celebrant.  

INTERCESSIONS (PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL) 

Then the prayer of the faithful is said: 

Celebrant: My dear brothers and sisters, * let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ to look lovingly on this child who is to be baptized, on his (her) parents and godparents, and on all the baptized. 

*At the discretion of the priest, other words which seem more suitable under the circumstances, such friends, dearly beloved, brethren, may be used. This also applies to parallel instances in the liturgy. 

Leader: By the mystery of your death and resurrection, bathe this child in light, give him (her) the new life of baptism and welcome him (her) into your holy Church. 

All:           Lord, hear our prayer. 

Leader:    Through baptism and confirmation, make him (her) your faithful follower and a witness to your gospel.

All:           Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader:     Lead him (her) by a holy life to the joys of God’s kingdom.

All:            Lord, hear our prayer. 

Leader:     Make the lives of his (her) parents and godparents examples of faith to inspire this child.

All:            Lord, hear our prayer. 

Leader:      Keep his (her) family always in your love.

All:            Lord, hear our prayer. 

Leader:      Renew the grace of our baptism in each one of us.

All:            Lord, hear our prayer. 

The celebrant next invites all present to invoke the saints.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, pray for us.

The names of other saints may be added, especially the patrons of the child to be baptized, and of the church or locality. The litany concludes:

All you saints of God, pray for us. 

PRAYER OF EXORCISM AND ANOINTING BEFORE BAPTISM 

After the invocation, the celebrant says:

Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness, and bring him into the splendor of your kingdom of light. We pray for this child: set him (her) free from original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her). (We ask this) through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The celebrant continues: 

I (We) anoint you with the oil of salvation in the name of Christ our Savior; may he strengthen you with his power, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

All: Amen.

He anoints the child on the breast with the oil of catechumens.

The anointing before baptism may be omitted if the celebrant judges the omission to be pastorally necessary or desirable. In that case he says:

May you have strength in the power of Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

All: Amen. 

And immediately he lays his hand on the child in silence.

Then they go to the baptistry, or to the sanctuary when baptism is celebrated there on occasion. 

CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT 

When they come to the font, the celebrant briefly reminds the congregation of the wonderful work of God whose plan it is to sanctify man, body and soul, through water. He may use these or similar words:

My dear brothers and sisters, we now ask God to give this child new life in abundance through water and the Holy Spirit. 

or:

My dear brothers and sisters, God uses the sacrament of water to give his divine life to those who believe in him. Let us turn to him, and ask him to pour his gift of life from this font on this child he has chosen. 

BLESSING AND INVOCATION OF GOD OVER BAPTISMAL WATER 

Then, turning to the font, he says the following blessing (outside the Easter season). The form given below may be substituted.

Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.

In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament.

At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness.

The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.

Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery, to be an image of God’s holy people, set free from sin by baptism.

In the waters of the Jordan your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Spirit.

Your Son willed that water and blood should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross.

After his resurrection he told his disciples: “Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism.

By the power of the Spirit give to the water of this font the grace of your Son.

You created man in your own likeness: cleanse him from sin in a new birth to innocence by water and the Spirit. 

The celebrant touches the water with his right hand and continues: 

We ask you, Father, with your Son to send the Holy Spirit upon the water of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life. (We ask this), through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen. 

During the Easter season, if there is baptismal water, which was consecrated at the Easter Vigil, the blessing and invocation of God over the water are nevertheless included, so that this theme of thanksgiving and petition may find a place in the baptism. The form of this blessing and invocation is found below. 

RENUNCIATION OF SIN AND PROFESSION OF FAITH 

The celebrant speaks to the parents and godparents in these words: 

Dear parents and godparents: You have come here to present this child for baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit he (she) is to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love.

On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life that God gives him (her) is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his (her) heart.

If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, renew now the vows of your own baptism. Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of the Church. This is the faith in which this child is about to be baptized.

The celebrant questions the parents and godparents.

Celebrant: Do you reject Satan?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: And all his works?  

Parents and godparents:

I do. 

Celebrant: And all his empty promises?  

Parents and godparents:

I do. 

or: 

Celebrant: Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

Celebrant: Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

Celebrant: Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

Next the celebrant asks for the threefold profession of faith from the parents and godparents: 

Celebrant: Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

Celebrant: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

Parents and godparents: I do. 

The celebrant and the congregation give their assent to this profession of faith: 

Celebrant: This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church.  We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen. 

BAPTISM

The celebrant invites the family to the font and questions the parents and godparents: 

Celebrant: Is it your will that N. should be baptized in the faith of the Church, which we have all professed with you?

Parents and godparents: It is. 

He baptizes the child, saying:

N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, 

He immerses the child or pours water upon it. and of the Son, 

He immerses the child or pours water upon it a second time. and of the Holy Spirit. 

He immerses the child or pours water upon it a third time. After the child is baptized, it is appropriate for the people to sing a short acclamation: 

This is the fountain of life, water made holy by the suffering of Christ, washing all the world.

You who are washed in this water have hope of heaven’s kingdom. 

ANOINTING WITH CHRISM 

Then the celebrant says:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.

All: Amen. 

Then the celebrant anoints the child on the crown of the head with the sacred chrism, in silence. 

CLOTHING WITH THE WHITE GARMENT 

The celebrant says:

N., you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.

All: Amen. 

The white garment is put on the child. A different color is not permitted unless demanded by local custom. It is desirable that the family provide the garment. 

LIGHTED CANDLE 

The celebrant takes the Easter candle and says: 

Receive the light of Christ. 

Someone from the family (such as the father or godfather) lights the child’s candle from the Easter candle.

The celebrant then says:

Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.  

EPHPHETHA OR PRAYER OVER EARS AND MOUTH 

The rite of Ephphetha may be performed at the discretion of the celebrant. He touches the ears and mouth of the child with his thumb, saying:

The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All: Amen.  

CONCLUSION OF THE RITE 

Next there is a procession to the altar, unless the baptism was performed in the sanctuary. The lighted candle is carried for the child.

A baptismal song is appropriate at this time, e.g.:

You have put on Christ, in him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia. 

LORD’S PRAYER 

The celebrant stands in front of the altar and addresses the parents, godparents, and the whole assembly in these or similar words:

Dearly beloved, this child has been reborn in baptism. He (she) is now called the child of God, for so indeed he (she) is. In confirmation he (she) will receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. In holy communion he (she) will share the banquet of Christ’s sacrifice, calling God his (her) Father in the midst of the Church. In the name of this child, in the Spirit of our common son-ship, let us pray together in the words our Lord has given us:

All present join the celebrant in singing or saying: 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

BLESSING 

The celebrant first blesses the mother, who holds the child in her arms, then the father, and lastly the entire assembly: 

Celebrant: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary’s child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May he bless the mother of this child. She now thanks God for the gift of her child. May she be one with him (her) in thanking him forever in heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen. 

Celebrant: God is the giver of all life, human and divine. May he bless the father of this child. He and his wife will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen. 

Celebrant: By God’s gift, through water and the Holy Spirit, we are reborn to everlasting life. In his goodness, may he continue to pour out his blessings upon these sons and daughters of his. May he make them always, wherever they may be, faithful members of his holy people. May he send his peace upon all who are gathered here, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen. 

Celebrant: May almighty God, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit, bless you.

All: Amen. 

Where there is the practice of bringing the baptized child to the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this custom may be observed.  


ALTERNATE READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING

A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel 36:24-28 

I will pour out on you clean water and you will be cleansed from all your sins.

Thus says the Lord God: "I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God."

This is the Word of the Lord. 

NEW TESTAMENT READING

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans 6:3-5

When we were baptized we joined Jesus in death so that we might walk in the newness of his life.

Are you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Through baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. If we have been united with him through likeness to his death, so shall we be through a like resurrection.

This is the Word of the Lord.        

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians 3:26-28 

All baptized in Christ have put on Christ.

Each one of you is a son of God because of your faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. There does not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus. 

This is the Word of the Lord. 


RESPONSORIAL PSALM 

Ps. 27:1, 4, 8-9, 13-14

1) 

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

V. The Lord.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?

V. The Lord.

R. The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

V. The Lord.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek:

To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, That I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Your presence, O Lord, I seek.

Hide not your face from me; do not in anger repel your servant. You are my helper: cast me not off.       

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. 

2)

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad. 

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the afflicted man called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Taste and see how good the Lord is; happy the man who takes refuge in him.

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking guile; Turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, and follow after it.

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

The Lord has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

R. Come to him and receive his light!

V. Come to him.  


ALLELUIA VERSE AND VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL

OUTSIDE OF LENT:

1) John 3:16

V. Alleluia

R. Alleluia

V. God loved the world so much, he gave us his only Son, that all who believe in him might have eternal life. R. Alleluia.

2) John 8:12 

V. Alleluia

R. Alleluia

V. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; the man who follows me will have the light of life. 

R. Alleluia.

3) John 14:6 

V. Alleluia

R. Alleluia

V.. I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.

R. Alleluia.

DURING LENT:

V. Alleluia

R. Alleluia

V. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory!

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory! 

V. Alleluia

R. Alleluia

V. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God, the Father of all.

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory! 


GOSPEL

1) + A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark 1:9—1l

The baptism of Jesus 

Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. Immediately on coming up out of the water he saw the sky rent in two and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Then a voice came from the heavens: “You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests.”

This is the gospel of the Lord.           

2) + A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark 10:13-16 

Jesus loves children 

People were bringing their little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples were scolding them for this. Jesus became indignant when he noticed it and said to them: “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them. It is to just such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I assure you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter into it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

 

 
 

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