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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 ContentsIII. Time and Place for the Baptism of ChildrenV. Adaptations by Conferences of Bishops or by BishopsEndnotes

IV. Structure of the Rite of Baptizing Children

A. Order of Baptism Celebrated by the Ordinary Minister

15. Baptism, whether for one child, or for several, or even for a larger number, should be celebrated by the ordinary minister and with the full rite when there is no immediate danger of death.

16. The rite begins with the reception of the children. This is to indicate the desire of the parents and godparents, as well as the intention of the Church, concerning the celebration of the sacrament of baptism. These purposes are expressed in action when the parents and the celebrant trace the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the children.

17. Then the liturgy of the word is directed toward stirring up the faith of the parents, godparents, and congregation and toward praying in common for the fruits of baptism before the sacrament itself. This part of the celebration consists of the reading of one or more passages from holy Scripture; a homily, followed by a period of silence; the general intercessions, with its concluding prayer, drawn up in the style of an exorcism, to introduce either the anointing with the oil of catechumens or the laying on of hands.

18. In the celebration of the sacrament:

  1. The immediate preparation consists of:
    1. the solemn prayer of the celebrant, which, by invoking God and recalling his plan of salvation, blesses the water of baptism or makes reference to its earlier blessing;
    2. the renunciation of Satan on the part of parents and godparents and their profession of faith, to which is added the assent of the celebrant and the community; and the final interrogation of the parents and godparents.
  2. The sacrament itself consists of the washing in water by way of immersion or infusion, depending on local custom, and the invocation of the blessed Trinity.
  3. The completion of the sacrament consists, first, of the anointing with chrism, which signifies the royal priesthood of the baptized and enrollment into the company of the people of God; then of the ceremonies of the white garment, lighted candle, and ephphetha rite (the last of which is optional).

19. Before the altar to prefigure the future sharing in the eucharist, the celebrant introduces and all recite the Lord's Prayer, in which God's children pray to their Father in heaven. Finally, a prayer of blessing is said over the mothers, fathers, and all present, to ask the outpouring of God's grace upon them.

B. Shorter Rite of Baptism

20. In the shorter rite of baptism designed for the use of catechists, [3] the reception of the children, the celebration of the word of God, or the instruction by the minister, and the general intercessions are retained. Before the font, the minister offers a prayer invoking God and recalling the history of salvation as it relates to baptism. After the baptismal washing, an adapted formulary is recited in place of the anointing with chrism and the whole rite concludes in the customary way. The omissions, therefore, are the exorcism, the anointing with oil of catechumens and with chrism, and the ephphetha rite.

21. The shorter rite for baptizing a child in danger of death and in the absence of the ordinary minister has a twofold structure:

  1. At the moment of death or when there is urgency because of imminent danger of death, the minister, [4] omitting all other ceremonies, pours water (not necessarily blessed but real and natural water) on the head of the child and pronounces the customary formulary. [5]
  2. if, however, it is prudently judged that there is sufficient time, several of the faithful may be gathered together and, if one of them is able to lead the others in a short prayer, the following rite may be used: an explanation by the minister of the sacrament, a short set of general intercessions, the profession of faith by the parents or one godparent and the pouring of the water with the customary words. But if those present are uneducated, the minister of the sacrament should recite the profession of faith aloud and baptize according to the rite for use in danger of death.

22. In danger of death, the priest or deacon may also use this shorter form if necessary. If there is time and he has the sacred chrism, the parish priest (pastor) or other priest enjoying the same faculty should not fail to confer confirmation after baptism. In this case he omits the postbaptismal anointing with chrism.

Table of ContentsIII. Time and Place for the Baptism of ChildrenV. Adaptations by Conferences of Bishops or by BishopsEndnotes

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.

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