Baptism is necessary before one can receive any other sacrament. It is the first sacrament of Christian Initiation which is completed with the sacraments of Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
Baptism was instituted by Christ when He was baptized by St. John the Baptist and when He commanded His apostles to go and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Matt 28:19)
Baptism removes all sin; original and any other sins.
Baptism makes us children of God, members of Christ, members of the Church, and heirs to the kingdom of heaven. This means that:
- Baptism permanently relates us to God and is necessary for salvation.
- Baptism imprints an indelible character on the soul of the recipient and can be received only once
These effects are the fruits of sanctifying grace which is conferred through Baptism.
Anyone not baptized may receive Baptism.
- Adults need to be introduced to the faith and its practices before receiving Baptism. This period of preparation is called the catechumenate.
- For infants, it is required that there be a reasonable hope that the parents or parent will bring the child up in the Catholic Faith
The essential rite of the sacrament of Baptism is celebrated by immersing the candidate three times in water or by pouring water over the head of the candidate while saying, “N, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The ordinary celebrant of Baptism is a bishop, priest, or deacon, but in case of necessity anyone, man or woman, even one who is not baptized, can validly baptize by pouring water over the head of the candidate while saying the proper words quoted above.
A candidate for Baptism must have at least one sponsor, or godparent.
- Be Catholic
- Have been baptized, confirmed and receive Communion
- Be 16 or older (although there may be exceptions to this rule at the discretion of the bishop)
- Must be living a life consistent with their own baptismal vows
NOTE: Please review the Requirements for godparents and sponsors.
The water of Baptism symbolizes both death with Christ and life with Him.
- In Baptism, we are buried with Christ. We are submerged under the waters – this is made especially clean when the rite is celebrated by immersion – and we die with Christ under the waters and we rise with Him. We have died and risen with Christ.
- Water is also a symbol of life. Every life known needs water. In Baptism, we are given the very life of God.
Material reproduced from “Outlines of the Catholic Faith”, The Leaflet Missal Company, 1999
For references see the Catechism of the Catholic Church – nos. 1265-1267, 1280, 1213, 1214, 694)