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The Central Features of Infant and Believers Baptism

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The Central Features of Infant and Believers Baptism

I was lucky enough to be present at my baby cousin's baptism in the

Catholic Church a few weeks ago and the ceremony was even more

meaningful to me since I had studied it in class, so recently.

Baptism is a community celebration and our celebration of the

sacrament of Baptism started at the entrance porch of the chapel,

where the baby, her parents, godparents and family members were all

greeted by the priest. The priest verified with the parents that they

knew what obligations they were taking on. He also asked the

godparents if they were prepared to help the parents train the child

in the practice of their faith. The priest welcomed the baby into the

family of God, by putting the sign of cross on her forehead and

inviting parents and godparents to do likewise. The sign of the cross

is a symbol the child belongs to God.

We then entered the chapel and moved to the left seating area where we

heard the celebration of the word of God. We were reminded that

reading and preaching the word of God would stimulate our faith. The

readings and psalm stressed the importance of baptism as a

prerequisite for life and eternal life. The gospel told of Jesus'

conversation with Nicodemus, about being born again to eternal life

through water and the spirit. During the homily the priest spoke to us

of the mystery of Baptism and encouraged us to accept the lifelong

responsibilities which come with this sacrament.

Prayers of the faithful followed this. These prayers were not only for

the baby, but the parents and godparents also.. These concluded with

prayers asking the saints to pray for the child, especially the saint

whose name was being taken by the baby---St. Therese.

The Prayer of Exorcism and the Anointing with the Oil of Catechumens

followed on from this. The priest prayed to God to deliver the baby

from evil and from sin. Although the baby has committed no sin, she

has been born into the human family and shares its weakness and
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