The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its
instigator the devil, one or more
are pronounced over the
candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechu
mens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan.
Thus prepared, he is able to
confess the faith of the Church,
he will be “entrusted” by Baptism.
is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis
(either at this moment or at the Easter Vigil). The Church asks God
that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon
the water, so that those who will be baptized in it may be “born of
water and the Spirit.”
of the sacrament follows:
speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to sin and
entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration
to the Paschal mystery of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most
expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. How-
ever, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by
pouring the water three times over the candidate’s head.
In the Latin Church this triple infusion is accompanied by the
minister’s words: “N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen turns
toward the East and the priest says: “The servant of God, N., is baptized
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the
invocation of each person of the Most Holy Trinity, the priest immerses
the candidate in the water and raises him up again.
anointing with sacred chrism,
perfumed oil consecrated
by the bishop, signifies the gift of theHolySpirit to thenewlybaptized,
who has become aChristian, that is, one “anointed” by theHoly Spirit,
incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.
In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, the post-baptismal
anointing is the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the
Roman liturgy the post-baptismal anointing announces a second
anointing with sacred chrism to be conferred later by the bishop—
Confirmation, which will as it were “confirm” and complete the
The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized
has “put on Christ,”
has risen with Christ. The
, lit from the
Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte.
In him the baptized are “the light of the world.”
41 Cf. RBC 62.