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  #1  
Old Feb 18, '07, 9:38 pm
jrago jrago is offline
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Default Requirements for Baptism at Mass

My step daughter recently requested Baptism for her 7 month old son during a Sunday Mass.
She waited this long so as to save enough money for a recepion afterward.
She said that our Pastor told her that he performed Baptisms: 1)only on the 4th Sunday of the month, after the Masses are over, and
2)not at all during Lent.
3)Sunday Mass Baptisms were only done in special circumstances or emergencies.

This much I can understand.
I am aware of the time constraints on our overworked priests,
but what constitutes a special circumstance or emergency sufficient to merit a Sunday Mass Baptism?

I sang on our parish choir today at Mass during which there was a Baptism. Child and parents all looked healthy, thanks be to God; the baby certainly had strong lungs.
I have cousins attending this parrish who had each of their kids baptized at our parish during Sunday Masses. My cousins and their kids were, and are, also healthy and they never mentioned any emergency or special circumstances. They were certainly planned in advance. No emergency.

Is there any objective Catholic Church criteria that determines when and who may have a Sunday Mass Baptism?
Is there any criteria as to who may be denied the same?

Thank you for your thoughts.
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  #2  
Old Feb 19, '07, 3:31 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

actually, baptism in the context of Sunday Mass is the norm, and may be done outside Mass only if there are pastoral considerations that warrant it (too crowded etc). Practices in actuallity vary from parish to parish. True many dioceses discourage baptism during Lent unless health of the child demands it. Delaying your child's baptism because you wanted to save money for a party hardly constitutes an emergency, but it does indicate some misunderstanding about the nature of the sacrament itself which some loving family member should take pains to correct for the parents.
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  #3  
Old Feb 19, '07, 4:10 am
decn2b decn2b is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

The priest may (just speculation) have been put off by the fact that someone delayed a baptism becuase of the reception.

I have 4 children all were bapised in the first weeks of their life. We had family over for coffee and dinner along with our priest. It likely cost us less than $50. Perhaps you could have a heart to heart with your step-daughter on priorities.
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  #4  
Old Feb 19, '07, 5:11 am
Sam88 Sam88 is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

While a priest has considerable room to exercise pastoral judgment in such matters, this response does seem unusual to me. At my parish, Baptisms regularly occur during the largest Sunday mass, and all parents are urged to have baptisms then. Sometimes a parent will request a "private baptism", which is strongly discouraged except for emergencies. Sometimes, by parental request, the baptism will be done immediately after the last mass rather than during mass, although I can't imagine why anyone would request that unless some attendees are unwilling to attend a mass.

I agree that delaying baptism for this reason is probably not a good idea, but I am sure there was no ill intention, just a different understanding that emphasizes the communal and familial aspect of welcoming infants into the church. One of my children was baptized later than seven months, because we were waiting for relatives who were coming from overseas, and could not possibly arrive any earlier.
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  #5  
Old Feb 19, '07, 5:49 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrago View Post
My step daughter recently requested Baptism for her 7 month old son during a Sunday Mass.
She waited this long so as to save enough money for a recepion afterward.
She said that our Pastor told her that he performed Baptisms: 1)only on the 4th Sunday of the month, after the Masses are over, and
2)not at all during Lent.
3)Sunday Mass Baptisms were only done in special circumstances or emergencies.

This much I can understand.
I am aware of the time constraints on our overworked priests,
but what constitutes a special circumstance or emergency sufficient to merit a Sunday Mass Baptism?

I sang on our parish choir today at Mass during which there was a Baptism. Child and parents all looked healthy, thanks be to God; the baby certainly had strong lungs.
I have cousins attending this parrish who had each of their kids baptized at our parish during Sunday Masses. My cousins and their kids were, and are, also healthy and they never mentioned any emergency or special circumstances. They were certainly planned in advance. No emergency.

Is there any objective Catholic Church criteria that determines when and who may have a Sunday Mass Baptism?
Is there any criteria as to who may be denied the same?

Thank you for your thoughts.
Well generally speaking, the trend is towards Baptisms being at a Sunday Mass as normal and outside of Mass usually called "Private Baptisms" the exceptions.

It would be up to the pastor following the Bishop's directive.

It is usual that Baptisms are not celebrated during Lent.

If it's a true emergency we do not wait until Sunday!
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  #6  
Old Feb 19, '07, 5:52 am
OutinChgoburbs OutinChgoburbs is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

If you all belong to the same parish, which is the way this appears, why don't you ask the priest yourself? Don't get defensive on him. Simply explain you are trying to clear up any misconceptions. You're Grandpa or Grandma, whether the daughter is a step or not. Ask. He might be more clear with you. He might tell you the same thing. He might say something entirely different.

And putting off baptism to save for the party after- that would upset me a bit if I was the priest.

Also- yesterday may have been considered the "last" (4th) Sunday, due to Lent. Some parishes don't baptize during Lent. So, the baby might have to very well wait until he is 9 months old.
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  #7  
Old Feb 19, '07, 7:09 am
dympnha dympnha is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Having waited 7 months it seems a bit inconsiderate to ask the priest to change his schedule.
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  #8  
Old Feb 19, '07, 9:15 am
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SMHW SMHW is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrago View Post
She said that our Pastor told her that he performed Baptisms: 1)only on the 4th Sunday of the month, after the Masses are over, and
2)not at all during Lent.
3)Sunday Mass Baptisms were only done in special circumstances or emergencies.

This much I can understand.
I am aware of the time constraints on our overworked priests,
but what constitutes a special circumstance or emergency sufficient to merit a Sunday Mass Baptism?
There was a baptism during the Mass that our (adult) choir sang at too. And it wasn't the last Mass of the day either. (The grandma of the baby sings in the adult choir, however. I don't know if that had anything to do with the choice of Mass time.)

I can't for the life of me imagine a baptism during a Mass for emergancy purposes... (Unless some unbaptized person stops breathing, has a heart attack, or other life threatening event during Mass.) Baptisms during Mass usually involve coordination between priest, deacon, music director, ushers, readers, altar servers, etc.

I find it more likely that the priest only permits baptisms during Mass for special circumstances only. This is because it takes a bit more planning and possibly extends the length of the Mass. (Which could be an issue if another Mass will follow this one.) My guess is that 'special cirumstances' means one of two things: the child is from a signifcant family in the parish or the pastor thinks the sacrament of baptism is especially liturgically appropriate for a particular day or season.

As others have mentioned, the practice of having baptisms during Mass varies from diocese to diocese and even more so from parish to parish. It has been my experience that some people embrace the idea of baptisms (and other sacraments) during Mass and others think that baptisms are a big distraction. Pastors will have their own viewpoints on the matter and will likely be influenced by the viewpoints of parishioners.

In my parish we tend to have baptisms during Mass at the final Sunday Mass. And even then, we usually limit the number of children to two. Most baptisms are immediately after the last Mass. In either case it is usually a deacon who baptizes. Families are asked for their preference as to whether baptism will be during Mass or after and are usually accomodated.
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  #9  
Old Feb 19, '07, 9:40 am
decn2b decn2b is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHW View Post
T Baptisms during Mass usually involve coordination between priest, deacon, music director, ushers, readers, altar servers, etc.

.
Virtually all baptisms at my parish are done during the Mass. Besides the baptismal font being pulled (it is on wheels) into the sanctuary what else needs to be coordinated? Lets see

1) Priest- check (Yup he is always at mass and knows about the baptism in advance)
2)Deacon- Check ( He should be informed to smile when the priest is done)
3)Music director - Check ( They should sing with extra zeal that day due to the baptism)
4)Readers- Check (They too should read with extra zeal due to the baptism)
5)Ushers Check ( they should be warned not to seat people in the area that has a rope and a big sign that says RESERVED FOR BAPTISM FAMILY)
6)Altar servers- Check ( they should smile too with the deacon when the baptism is over..awww little feller is cute)

Baptisms are a family event. Parish family too. Since the pope does it that way perhaps it should be the norm.

The last two Popes baptized infants during the MASS.

If done correctly Mass is not lengthened. Simply a slightly shorter homily allows for the baptism.
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  #10  
Old Feb 19, '07, 12:07 pm
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SMHW SMHW is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
...what else needs to be coordinated?
Well, not all parishes are exactly like yours.

1) Priest - Hopefully he knows ahead of time that there will be a baptism during Mass. But if it's a visiting priest, he may not know about it until that day and may have to be instructed about specific parish practices.

2) Deacon - In my parish it is almost always a deacon who performs the baptism so he would need to know about it. He might even need to be prepared to get wet since baptisms of children who haven't reached the age of reason but are not infants will be by immersion in the baptismal pool.

3) Music director - Needs to know if the penitential rite will be omitted during this Mass if the cantor/choir would otherwise have been leading the Kyrie. In our parish he will lead the choir in a special song after the/each child has been baptized.

4) Readers - I don't know specifically. But a reader should not begin reading something (from the lectionary, the book of intentions, announcements) if some part of the baptismal rite should be occurring instead.

5) Altar servers - Need to know to follow the priest/deacon to whatever part of the church in which the baptism will take place and assist by bringing candles, oils, towels, etc.

6) Ushers - May be responsible for marking off a section of the church for the baptism family. In my parish where baptisms take place in the baptismal pool or the smaller 'fountain pool' they may need to do a little crowd control when the family/families of the children to be baptized all jockey for position to best watch the process.

Quote:
Baptisms are a family event. Parish family too. Since the pope does it that way perhaps it should be the norm.
I agree that baptisms during Mass should be the norm. I was merely offering reasons why baptisms do not always occur during Mass at some parishes.

I think there are actually quite a few families that prefer not to have their child baptized during a Mass. This may be because one of the parents and/or many family members are not Catholic and would be uncomfortable at a Mass. Some families prefer to wait until later in the day to give out of town guests more time to travel.
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  #11  
Old Feb 19, '07, 12:39 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

some pastoral reasons for having baptisms after the last Mass of the day, or even on Saturday afternoon:
short time between Masses, so that anything that makes Mass go "too long" results in massive parking problems and a LOT of resentment from the regulars.

Several baptisms during Mass make for a very long service, which might be tough on the younger infants (or the toddlers).

Crowded Masses in parishes that are still in the fund-raising stage of the capital campaign for their new church (I say make as many of these over-crowded occasions as you can, so the parishioners get the message).

Lots of non-Catholic family members who don't want to sit through a whole Mass

(I didn't say these were necessarily good reasons)
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  #12  
Old Feb 19, '07, 12:58 pm
decn2b decn2b is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHW View Post
Well, not all parishes are exactly like yours.

1) Priest - Hopefully he knows ahead of time that there will be a baptism during Mass. But if it's a visiting priest, he may not know about it until that day and may have to be instructed about specific parish practices.

2) Deacon - In my parish it is almost always a deacon who performs the baptism so he would need to know about it. He might even need to be prepared to get wet since baptisms of children who haven't reached the age of reason but are not infants will be by immersion in the baptismal pool.

3) Music director - Needs to know if the penitential rite will be omitted during this Mass if the cantor/choir would otherwise have been leading the Kyrie. In our parish he will lead the choir in a special song after the/each child has been baptized.

4) Readers - I don't know specifically. But a reader should not begin reading something (from the lectionary, the book of intentions, announcements) if some part of the baptismal rite should be occurring instead.

5) Altar servers - Need to know to follow the priest/deacon to whatever part of the church in which the baptism will take place and assist by bringing candles, oils, towels, etc.

6) Ushers - May be responsible for marking off a section of the church for the baptism family. In my parish where baptisms take place in the baptismal pool or the smaller 'fountain pool' they may need to do a little crowd control when the family/families of the children to be baptized all jockey for position to best watch the process.



.
That is not alot of coordination..its not a broadway production.

5 minutes could take care of everything you listed.
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  #13  
Old Feb 19, '07, 3:36 pm
jrago jrago is offline
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Default Re: Requirements for Baptism at Mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by decn2b View Post
The priest may (just speculation) have been put off by the fact that someone delayed a baptism becuase of the reception.

I have 4 children all were bapised in the first weeks of their life. We had family over for coffee and dinner along with our priest. It likely cost us less than $50. Perhaps you could have a heart to heart with your step-daughter on priorities.
________________________________________ _________

We spoke to her about scaling down. She said she had.
I said just parents and Godparents going out to dinner.

She does'nt have a good track record of listening to reason.
Her mother and I both wanted her to baptize Anthony long ago. We try to be the inculcators of the faith to the grandchildren. Our pastor knows this.
She sees Baptism as a social priority more than an eternal need. We were able to convince her, just before winter started, to send her oldest child (6 year old) to the parish's children's Bible school on Sunday mornings before Mass.
Our daughter didn't fight us on the idea, and Payton liked it.
We thank God for all His favors.
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