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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > Rite of Baptism for Children, Introduction (Second Edition)  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsI. Importance of Baptizing ChildrenIII. Time and Place for the Baptism of ChildrenEndnotes

II. Ministries and Roles in the Celebration of Baptism

4. The people of God, that is, the Church, made present by the local community, has an important part to play in the baptism of both children and adults.

Before and after the celebration of the sacrament, the child has a right to the love and help of the community. During the rite, in addition to the ways of congregational participation mentioned in the General Introduction to Christian Initiation no. 7, the community exercises its duty when it expresses its assent together with the celebrant after the profession of faith by the parents and godparents. In this way it is clear that the faith in which the children are baptized is not the private possession of the individual family, but the common treasure of the whole Church of Christ.

5. Because of the natural relationships, parents have a ministry and a responsibility in the baptism of infants more important than those of the godparents.

  1. Before the celebration of the sacrament, it is of great importance that parents, moved by their own faith or with the help of friends or other members of the community, should prepare to take part in the rite with understanding. They should be provided with suitable means such as books, letters addressed to them, and catechisms designed for families. The parish priest (pastor) should make it his duty to visit them or see that they are visited; he should try to gather a group of families together and prepare them for the coming celebration by pastoral counsel and common prayer.
  2. It is very important that the parents be present at the celebration in which their child is reborn in water and the Holy Spirit.
  3. In the celebration of baptism, the father and mother have special parts to play. They listen to the words addressed to them by the celebrant, they join in prayer along with the congregation, and they exercise a genuine ministry when: a. they publicly ask that the child be baptized; b. they sign their child with the sign of the cross after the celebrant; c. they renounce Satan and recite the profession of faith; d. they (and especially the mother) carry the child to the font; e. they hold the lighted candle; f. they are blessed with the prayers formulated specifically for mothers and fathers.
  4. A parent unable to make the profession of faith (for example, not being a Catholic) may keep silent. Such a parent, when making the request for the child's baptism is asked only to make arrangements or at least to give permission for the child's instruction in the faith of its baptism.
  5. After baptism it is the responsibility of the parents, in their gratitude to God and in fidelity to the duty they have undertaken, to assist the child to know God, whose adopted child it has become, to prepare the child to receive confirmation and participate in the holy eucharist. In this duty they are again to be helped by the parish priest (pastor) by suitable means.

6. Each child may have a godfather (patrinus) and a godmother (matrina), the word "godparents" is used in the rite to describe both.

7. In addition to what is said about the ordinary minister of baptism in the General Introduction to Christian Initiation nos. 11-15, the following should be noted:

  1. 1. It is the duty of the priest to prepare families for the baptism of their children and to help them in the task of Christian formation that they have undertaken. It is the duty of the bishop to coordinate such pastoral efforts in the diocese, with the help also of deacons and lay people.
  2. 2. It is also the duty of the priest to arrange that baptism is always celebrated with proper dignity and, as far as possible, adapted to the circumstances and wishes of the families concerned. All who perform the rite of baptism should do so with exactness and reverence; they must also try to be understanding and friendly to all.

Table of ContentsI. Importance of Baptizing ChildrenIII. Time and Place for the Baptism of ChildrenEndnotes

You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > Rite of Baptism for Children, Introduction (Second Edition)  Back one page.

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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > Rite of Baptism for Children, Introduction (Second Edition)  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com