SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Baptism is the sacrament that gives our souls the new meaning life of sanctifying grace by which we become children of God and heirs of heaven.
Baptism is the sacrament that initiates a person into the Church, into a community dedicated to bringing the kingdom of God to its fulfillment.
Baptism is the first sacrament we may receive, unless we are forbidden to receive any other sacrament.
B. Three Essentials of Baptism.
1. The sacrament of baptism was instituted by Christ (perhaps at His own baptism), and commanded at His Ascension. (Mt 3:13-17 and Mt. 28:18-20).
2. It is a sensible sign. Christ instituted Baptism as the sacrament of spiritual rebirth, making the baptized members of God's family. Baptism infuses grace into their souls, making them supernaturally like to God.
3. It confers grace. The Sacrament grace of Baptism is regenerative grace that helps those baptized to live well the supernatural life they have begun as children of God.
C. Purpose and Effects.
1. Baptism incorporates a person into the paschal (PASSOVER) mystery of Christ.
2. It unites us with Christ.
3. We obtain forgiveness of the original sin and of our actual sin.
4. By baptism, we share in God's gift of eternal life.
5. It makes us the adopted children of God and members of a royal priesthood.
6. In Baptism, we receive fellowship with the holy Trinity.
7. In Baptism, we share in the mission of Christ.
8. We are capable of receiving the other sacraments.
D. Types of Baptism.
1. Baptism by water.
2. Baptism by Blood or Fire-received by dying for Christ.
a. Mt. 2:16-18 holy innocents
b. Early catechumens who were martyred for Christ.
3. Baptism by desire:
a. Present in those explicitly wish to be baptized but who die before their intention can be carried out.
b. Even those who have no fault of their own and do not know Christ can received it if they strive to lead a good life which is actually a response to God's grace.
Note: children should be baptized as soon as possible after birth. If possible, this should be done within a week. Except when in danger of death, an infant should not be baptized without the permission of a parent or guardian. Children who have come to the age of reason cannot be baptized without their own consent. Infants may receive the baptism of blood, but not the baptism of desire ,since they have not as yet the use of reason .since infants who die unbaptized have not as yet the use of reason .since infants who die unbaptized have committed no since, they live in a place of natural happiness called limbo.
F. Conditions for reception
1. Parents and godparents must be present with the person to be baptized.
2. It must be done in the presence of the Christian community.
3. It must take place on Sunday.
G. Manners in which baptism is administered
1. Immersion-by immersing the candidate three times in baptismal water.
2. Infusion by pouring water on head, forehead, or face of the candidate.
3. Aspersion by sprinkling water on the head of the candidate.
H. Result of Reception of the Sacrament.
1. Wash our original sins.
2. Remove all personal sins (for adults).
3. Remove all punishments due to sins committed.
I. Symbols of Baptism
1. Water symbolizes a new life, a renewal of spirit.
a. It points to our rebirth in Christ.
b. Our death to sin.
c. Our purification
d. Our total transformation.
2. Lighted Candle it symbolizes Christ as the light of the world.
a. Reminds the baptized of his vocation to be a beacon that points to the Good News of Jesus.
b. Reminds us to let the light of Christ shine through
c. Reminds us of Christ all consuming love.
3. Holy Oil (Chrisms) to show that we are the anointed in the name of Christ and therefore set a Christian life example patterned in the teachings of Christ.
4. White Cloth – it signifies purity, Christ the new man, turning away from sin (old self) and live according to the Law of the Spirit and the Law of Love.
J. Who can administer the sacrament of baptism?
The priest is the usual minister of baptism, but if there is danger that someone will die without baptism, anyone else may and should baptize.
Because baptism is a necessary prerequisites to enter heaven, when an unbaptized person is in danger of death, and if no priest is available, anyone may be baptize. However, it would be very wrong to do it without serious reason.
The bishop or pastor, or priest properly delegated, is therefore the ordinary minister of baptism. But in cases of necessity, when there is danger of death and an ordinary minister is unavailable, anyone – man, woman, or child, catholic or non catholic, atheist, or pagan – may and should baptize; that person then becomes the extraordinary minister of baptism.
If a person by an extraordinary minister survives, he cannot be baptized again. However, is taken to the church, and the ceremonies that had been omitted are supplied.
Baptism administered by a Protestant or other minister is valid if properly performed that is, with the use of water, together with the form of Baptism, and having the intension to do what the church does.
After baptism, a certificate is given containing the name of the child, of his parents, of his godparents, the dates of birth, of baptism, and the place of baptism. This is known as the Baptismal Certificate. It should be very carefully kept, as later it will be needed for the sacrament of Confirmation. The certificate is also necessary for marriage, holy orders or entrance into a religious community. Parents should tell their children when and where they were baptized, so that even should the certificate lost and the parents, the registration can and may be traced.
K. Matter and Form of the Sacrament of Baptism.
Baptism is ordinarily done by pouring water on the forehead of the person to be baptized, saying while pouring it: (mention the name given), "I baptized you in the name of the father, and of the son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen"
The pouring of water is the matter, and the, "words" being said is the form of the sacrament of baptism.
L. Important considerations:
1. The form must be said and the same time the water is poured, and must be said by the same person pouring the water, so that everything takes place as one act.
2. No changes may be made in the wordings. For example, the words "of the holy Trinity" may both substituted for " of the father , and of the son , and of the holy spirit" because Jesus explicitly commanded baptism to be given" in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit "(Mt. 28:19). The word "Ghost" may be substituted for "Spirit".
3. Baptism is validly administered whether perform by total immersion, by infusion, or by aspersion. In cases of emergency, it may be poured on the head, forehead or any part of the body. The water must flow on the skin, of the person being baptized, not merely on the hair.
4. The water used for solemn baptism, is called spiritual water. It is natural water mingled with holy oil and chrism, and blessed with special prayers. Ordinary water is not baptismal water. Jesus spoke of the "water and of the Holy Spirit". Peter baptized Cornelius and his family in water (Acts. 10:47). Philip did the same with the Eunuch (Acts. 8:38). From the gospel one cannot conclude the use of anything but water in baptism administered during the apostolic times.
5. In cases of necessity, when someone other than a priest administers the baptism, any natural water, such as water from the sea, river, fountain, faucet, rain or even mineral water may be use. Holy water may also be used. But for reason of health, the water to be used should and must be clean.
L. Who should be chosen as Godparents for Baptism?
Only Catholic who know their faith and live up to the duties of their religion should be chosen as Godparents for baptism. A Godparent is supposed to be a practicing Catholic. Non - catholic, masons, those who married out of the church, and all other excommunicated persons cannot be sponsors. Neither can the father, the mother, the husband or the wife of the person to be baptized be the Godparent.
M. Condition for Persons acting as Godparents.
1. Should be a mature Christian mature enough to undertake his responsibility.
2. Have received the three sacrament of initiation.
3. Must be a catholic not excommunicated or affiliated to a forbidden sect.
N. Duties of Godparents.
1. To provide spiritual guidance or proper religious education.
2. To guard his moral formation even when is grown.
O. What do we promise through our godparents in baptism?
We promise trough our Godparents in baptism to renounce the devil, and to live according to the teachings of Christ and of His Church.
The Godparents make the responses for an infant being baptized. These are called the baptismal vows. By them, the * person renounces Satan and all his works and pomp; that is, sin and all occasions.
1. To the first three questions, we reply through our godparents in baptism. "I do renounce him (or them)". To the last three questions we reply, "I do believe"
a) Do you renounce Satan?
b) And all his work?
c) And all his display?
d) Do you believe in god, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
e) Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only son, our lord who was born into the world and suffered for us?
f) And 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?
2. We should renew our baptismal vows after the blessing of the baptismal font at Eater Vigil Service. We should also renew them on our first communion day, on New Year's Day, and after a mission or spiritual retreat.
P. Meaning of the symbols and gestures used in baptism
1. Making the sign of the cross over the child's forehead.
It renders present and actual the Paschal Mystery of Christ in the "here and now". (Rom. 6: 13; 5: 12-15). It indicates salvation and the promise of well being, joy, happiness, etc., which flow from the abounding mercy and love of God. Furthermore, it signifies communion in the love of the Blessed Trinity and the ability to place oneself before God with the same attitude of his Son – Jesus and with the help of the Spirit which is at work in Baptism, we or the baptized child may be able to proclaim in his Christian life the word: "ABBA FATHER".
2. White cloth being put over the child's forehead or body.
It signifies putting on of Christ in one's life. From now on the Child experiences the presence of Christ in his life and strives more fully in his mature life to live to the full of his Christian commitment
3. Descending and emerging the child into the water.
This signifies death to one's sin (old self and new life in the spirit. It speaks of the transition from death to life. So that unity with Christ in a death similar to him, he or she dies with him and rises to a new and everlasting life with God.
4. The laying of hands by the priest over the mother's forehead.
It signifies the ability and responsibility of the mother over the child that ability and responsibility of the mother should be fulfilled through the prayers of the priest. That she may fulfill her duty and role as mother in leading her child to a good and well – founded life with and in Christ.
1) In solemn Baptism, there must be at least one Godparents of the same sex as the one Baptized. It is permitted to have two sponsors: A Godfather and a Godmother, and these two must be of different sexes. Others who may be present are only witnesses. Godparents should be at least thirteen years of age.
2) A Godparent has the duty of looking the baptized person as his spiritual child, of providing for him when necessary the proper religious education, and of guarding him spiritually even when he is fully grown.
3) A spiritual relationship established between the person baptized and his sponsor, as well between him and the one who baptizes him. This relationship called spiritual affinity, forbids marriage between the person thus related. No spiritual affinity is contracted between the Godfather and the Godmother of a person or between his parents and his Godparents.
4) If the person chosen to be Godparent cannot be present at the baptism, another can act in his place, that is, he can be sponsor by proxy. The absent Godparent must, however the intention of being a Godparent.
Why is the Name of the Saint given in Baptism?
The name of a saint is given in Baptism in order that the person baptized may imitate his virtues, and have him for a protector.
The names of angels are also given, as well as names referring to mysteries or sacred affiliations, events, and doctrines. In certain countries, it is practice, even when another baptismal name is given, to include for girls the name Mary, and for boys the name Joseph; for example: Mary Louise, Joseph Francis, etc.
The church does not approve of heaten or fantastical names, such as combinations taken from a film or novel, or made up from various words.
Christian parents will quite naturally want to give a Christian name to their child. At least one of the child's names must be a saint's name, so that the child may have a patron in heaven whose virtues he may imitate and to whom he may look for protection and help.
Structure of the Rite of Baptism
1. Reception of the child.
The rite begins with the reception of the children. The celebrant greets all present and especially the parents and Godparents. This indicates the desire of the parents and Godparents, as well as the intention of the church, to have 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.
2. Celebration of God's word.
The liturgy of the word is directed to stir up the faith of the parents 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 the Holy Scripture, a short homily by the celebrant explaining the significance of what has been read.
3. Celebration of the Sacrament.
The celebration of the Sacrament is performed by way of immersion or infusion according to the local custom. The invocation of the blessed trinity is given at this moment. The sacrament is concluded by the anointing with chrisms, which signifies the royal priesthood of the baptized and enrollment of God's people; this is followed by the ceremonies of the white garment and lighted candle, and the EPHEPPETHA or prayer over ears and mouth. (This later part is optional.)
4. Conclusion of the rite.
The celebrant speaks of the future reception of the Eucharist by the baptized children; the Lord's Prayer, in which God's children pray to their Father in heaven, is recited before the altar. Finally, a prayer of blessings is said over the mothers, fathers, and all present, to ask God's grace in abundance for all.