The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.
The sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and fellowship with Christ. Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God who first loved us from the moment of our conception. Baptism celebrates a family’s and a community’s experience of that love in the baptized person. Baptism begins with God’s love and cares revealed to us through Christ. It continues with us, the Church, living and enacting God’s love and care through Christ to the world.
Baptism is the Holy sacrament, wherein the immersing with water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,(Mt.28:19) signifies and seals our engrafting into Christ. It is identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Sacrament of Baptism is often called “The door of the Church,” because it is the first of the seven sacraments not only in time (since most Catholics receive it as infants) but in priority since the reception of the other sacraments depends on it. It is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation, the other two being the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Once baptized, a person becomes a member of the Church. Traditionally, the rite (or ceremony) of baptism was held outside the doors of the main part of the church, to signify this fact.
The Necessity of Baptism
Christ Himself ordered His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations and to baptize those who accept the message of the Gospel. In His encounter with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), Christ made it clear that baptism was necessary for salvation: “Amen, amen I say to thee unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” For Catholics, the sacrament is not a mere formality; it is the very mark of a Christian because it brings us into a new life in Christ.
The Form of the Sacrament of Baptism
While the Church has an extended rite of Baptism which is normally celebrated, which includes roles for both parents and godparents, the essentials of that rite are two: the pouring of water over the head of the person to be baptized (or the immersion of the person in water); and the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
3 theological virtues of
the Sacrament of Baptism
The Effects of the Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism has six primary effects:
- The removal of the guilt of both original sin (the sin imparted to all mankind by the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden) and personal sin (the sins that we have committed ourselves).
- The remission of all punishment that we owe because of sin, both temporal (in this world and in purgatory) and eternal (the punishment that we would suffer in hell).
- The infusion of grace in the form of sanctifying grace (the life of God within us); the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; and the three theological virtues.
- Becoming a part of Christ.
- Becoming a part of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.
- Enabling participation in the sacraments, the priesthood of all believers, and the growth in grace.
Please contact the mission director or one of the council members for scheduling the baptism of your beloved ones!
“Be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”