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Rite of Bringing a Baptised Child to the Church

(This Catholic rite can be adapted for the reception of a child of an interchurch family who has received baptism in the church of the other partner.)

RECEPTION OF THE CHILD

165 The people may sing a psalm or song suitable for the occasion. Meanwhile the celebrating priest or deacon, vested in alb or surplice, with a stole (with or without a cope) of festive color, and accompanied by the ministers, goes to the entrance of the church where the parents and godparents are waiting with the child.

166. The celebrant greets all present, and especially the parents and godparents. He praises them for having had the child baptized without delay, and thanks God and congratulates the parents on the child's return to health.

167. First the celebrant questions the parents:

Celebrant: What name have you given the child?

Parents: N.

Celebrant: What do you ask of God's Church, now that your child has been baptized?

Parents: We ask that the whole community will know that he (she) has been received into the Church.

The first reply may be given by someone other than the parents if local custom gives him the right to name the child.

In the second response the parents may use other words, such as that he (she) is a Christian or that he (she) has been baptized.

168. Then the celebrant speaks to the parents in these or similar words:

Celebrant: Do you realize that in bringing your child to the Church, you are accepting the duty of raising him (her) in the faith, so that by observing the commandments he (she) will love God and neighbor as Christ taught us?

Parents: We do.

169. Then the celebrant turns to the godparents and addresses them in these or similar words:

Are you ready to help the mother and father of this child to carry out their duty as Christian parents?

Godparents: We are.

170. The celebrant continues:

N., the Christian community welcomes you with great joy, now that you have recovered your health. We now bear witness that you have been received as a member of the Church. In the name of the community I sign you with the cross of Christ, who gave you a new life in baptism and made you a member of his Church. I invite your parents (and godparents) to do the same.

He signs the child on the forehead, in silence. Then he invites the parents and (if it seems appropriate) the godparents to do the same.

171. The celebrant invites the parents, godparents, and all who are present to take part in the liturgy of the word. If circumstances permit, there is a procession to the place where this will be celebrated, during which a song is sung, such as Psalm 85:7, 8, 9ab:

Will you not give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O Lord, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims:
the Lord-for he proclaims peace to his people.
 

CELEBRATION OF GOD'S WORD

SCRIPTURAL READINGS AND HOMILY

172. One or even two of the following gospel passages are read, during which all may sit if convenient.

John 3:1­6 The meeting with Nicodemus
Matthew 28:1-20 The apostles are sent to preach the gospel and to baptize.
Mark 1:9-11 The baptism of Jesus.
Mark 10:13­16 Let the little children come to me.

The passages listed in nos. 186­194 and 204­215 may also be chosen, or other passages which better meet the wishes or needs of the parents, such as the following:

1 Kings 17:17­24
2 Kings 4:8-37

Between the readings, responsorial psalms or verses may be sung, as given in nos. 195­203.

173. After the reading, the celebrant gives a brief homily, explaining to those present the significance of what has been read. His purpose will be to lead them to a deeper understanding of the mystery of baptism and to encourage parents and godparents to a ready acceptance of the responsibilities which arise from the sacrament.

174. After the homily, or in the course of or after the litany, it is desirable to have a period of silence while all pray at the invitation of the celebrant. A suitable hymn may follow, such as one chosen from nos. 225­245.

PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL

175. Then the prayer of the faithful is said:

Celebrant: Let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ to look lovingly on this child, on his (her) parents and godparents, and on all the baptized.

Leader: May this child always show gratitude to God for his (her) baptism and recovery.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Help him (her) always to be a living member of your Church.

All: Lord, hear our prayer

Leader: Inspire him (her) to hear, follow, and witness to your gospel.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: May he (she) come with joy to the table of your sacrifice.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Help him (her) to love God and neighbor as you have taught us.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: May he (she) grow in holiness and wisdom by listening to his (her) fellow Christians and following their example.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Keep all your followers united in faith and love for ever.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

176. The celebrant next invites all present to invoke the saints:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul, pray for us.

The names of other saints may be added, especially the patrons of the child and of the church or locality. The litany concludes:

All you saints of God, pray for us.

Then the celebrant says:

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, source of all life and love, you are glorified by the loving care these parents have shown this child. You rescue children from danger and save them in baptism.

Your Church thanks you and prays for your child N. You have brought him (her) out of the kingdom of darkness and into your marvelous light. You have made him (her) your adopted child and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Help him (her) in all the dangers of this life and strengthen him (her) in the constant effort to reach your kingdom, through the power of Christ our Savior. (U1e ask this) through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen

FURTHER RITES

ANOINTING WITH CHRISM

178. Then the celebrant says:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Then the celebrant anoints the child on the crown of the head with the chrism, in silence.

CLOTHING WITH WHITE GARMENT

179. The celebrant says:

N., you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.

All: Amen.

LIGHTED CANDLE

180. The celebrant takes the Easter candle and says:

Receive the light of Christ

Someone, such as the father or godfather, lights the child's candle from the Easter candle.

The celebrant then says:

Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

A baptismal song is appropriate at this time, such as:

You have put on Christ,
in him you have been baptized.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Other songs may be chosen from nos. 22~245.

CONCLUSION OF THE RITE

LORD'S PRAYER

181. The celebrant stands in front of the altar and addresses the parents, godparents, and the whole assembly in these or similar words:

My dear brothers and sisters, this child has been reborn in baptism. He (she) is now called the child of God, for so indeed he (she) is. In confirmation he (she) will receive the fullness of God's Spirit. In holy communion he (she) will share the banquet of Christ's sacrifice, calling God his (her) Father in the midst of the Church. In the name of this child, in the spirit of our common sonship, let us pray together in He words our Lord has given us:

182. All present join the celebrant in singing or saying:

Our Father....

BLESSING

183. The celebrant first blesses the mother, who holds the child in her arms, then the father. and lastly the entire assembly:

Celebrant: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary's child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May he bless the mother of this child. She now thanks God for the gift of her child. May she be one with her son (daughter) in thanking God for ever in heaven, in Christ Jesus our lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: God is the giver of all life, human and divine. May he bless the father of this child. He and his wife will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith.

May they also be the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: By God's gift, through water and the Holy Spirit, we are reborn to everlasting life. In his goodness, may he continue to pour out his blessings on these sons and daughters of his. May he make them always, where ever they may be, faithful members of his holy people. May he send his peace upon all who are gathered here, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: May almighty God, the Father, and the Son, ~ and the Holy Spirit, bless you.

All: Amen.

For other forms of the blessing, see nos. 247­249.

184. After the blessing, all may sing a hymn which suitably expresses thanksgiving and Easter joy, or they may sing the song of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Magnificat.

Where there is the practice of bringing the baptized child to the altar of the blessed Virgin, this custom is observed if appropriate.

185. The above rite is followed even when the baptized child is brought to the church after other difficulties (such as persecution, disagreement between parents) which prevented the celebration of baptism in the church. In such cases, the celebrant should adapt the explanations, readings, intentions in the prayer of the faithful and other parts of the rite to the child's circumstances.

Reprinted by the Association of Interchurch Families, England

   

Daily Word  

"Meeting one another has been so important. In the early days we were a small group huddled together for mutual support. Many of us had felt isolated. Parish priests said: ‘I’ve never met a couple like you before’. We seemed to be so unusual in being two practising Christians who wanted to conserve our links as a couple with both the churches that had nurtured us. It was a great relief to find there were others like us!" from A Short history of the Association of Interchurch Families by Ruth Reardon, "Issues and Reflections" #7, October 2007

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