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 godparents, 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: (give the name of the child)
Celebrant: What do you ask of God’s Church for N.?
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. If circumstances permit, there is a procession to the place where this will be celebrated, during which a song is sung e.g., Psalm 85: 7, 8, 9ab.
Will you not give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O Lord, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the Lord—for he proclaims peace to his people.
If baptism is to be celebrated at Sunday or weekday Mass, the Order of Mass begins here with the Lord have mercy.
next: the Liturgy of the Word
go back to A Walk through the Rite of Baptism