Baptism is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. People get baptised to show they belong to the Christian faith. They promise that they will try to live in a Christian way. Usually it is a baby getting baptised. Obviously a baby can’t make any promises, so the parents and God-parents make the promises for the baby. When a baby is baptised it wears white. Long ago, new Christians were given a white garment to wear as a sign of their new life. White stands for purity and innocence and the rejection of sin (doing wrong things).
The priest welcomes the child and the parents at the door of the church. In each Catholic Church is a great paschal candle, which stands for the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”, so the candle is a symbol of this. With light we see things clearly. Jesus was talking about showing the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. In the baptism, a candle is given to one of the parents or God parents who lights it from the great paschal candle. The candle is a sign of how they hope the child will always try to live the way the Jesus would want.
At the door, the priest asks the parents and God-parents if they are willing to bring up the child as a Christian. When they say ‘Yes’ the priest welcomes and names the child and says: “I claim you for Christ our Saviour by the Sign of his Cross”. The priest then traces the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead and the parents and God-parents do the same. The sign of the cross is a symbol that the child now belongs to God. The people then enter into the church. There is then a short reading form the Bible. The priest explains what it is about. Then there will be prayers.
The prayers will be for the baby and for the parents and God-parents to help them in their job of bringing up the child. The priest anoints the child on the chest with the oil of catechumens. Think of a wrestler or body-builder; they sometimes put oil all over themselves. It makes them look strong and healthy. The oil of catechumens is a sign of strength and healing. People need strength to fight for what is right. The child is brought up to the font with the parents and God-parents. The priest asks the parents and God-parents some questions, and they answer together “I do”. “Do you reject Satan? ” “I do.
” “Do you believe in God? ” “I do. ” “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God? ” “I do. ” “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? ” “I do. ” After the promises the child is baptised. Water is poured over the child’s head three times. The priest says the child’s name and then: “I baptise you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. ” The Priest baptises the baby Water is used because it is a symbol of new life. This is the sacrament of baptism. After baptism there is a second anointing. This time oil called chrism is used. This is the symbol of being chosen for a special task.
The special task is to live as a Christian in a loving way to each other. The oil smells nice because it is a symbol of the beauty of a child of God. At the end, the Lord’s Prayer is said: “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. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen”. The priest blesses the mother and father and all the people in the church.