Is Baptism public or private?

Is the sacrament of Baptism done in a private ceremony or is it public?:blush:

It is public! It is about a person becoming member of the Church.

Oh. So what is meant by public? like in mass or …?

Baptism can be done as part of Mass. It can also be done outside of Mass, right after mass, in the case of an emergency, by anyone, anywhere.

Depends on the parish and/or diocese.

My children were all baptized in private ceremonies after Mass.
Our new priest, though, encourages parents to have their babies baptized during Mass.

So does the preist oblige the congregation to watch in church?


I’m also particularly interested in this as my boyfriend wants to get baptised but is very nervous about the public nature of it. He’d feel much more comfortable with just a few people present and although I know that’s not the norm, I wonder if it would be acceptable?

Does anybody know what the rules are regarding this? I get that it’s a public statement of becoming part of the Body of Christ, so maybe keeping it private could be problematic, like you were ashamed or something…?

Oops, a few more posts appeared while I was typing that one, which kind of answered my question :slight_smile:

There might be differences for adults being baptized. Ususally the Church only baptizes adults once a year at Easter time, since adults are required to go through classes, (RCIA). All that I have witnessed for adults were done as part of Mass.

I am not sure if there are truly “private” baptisms for adults, although one could ask:)

I mean have suffer with bad nerves.I’d rather it wasnt with a whole congregation of people.Just me and my godparent

Talk privately with your priest about this. They can often make arrangements for certain circumstances…

It really depends on the parish as to what the “norm” is… sometimes it’s a small ceremony after a Mass… sometimes it’s during a Mass… it varies.

I’m sure your priest would accommodate if necessary.

All the Sacraments are celebrated in the parish church and all members of the parish are always invited. Now that may mean that Baptisms are at Sunday morning Mass or on Saturday afternoon, either way all parish members are invited. Adult Baptisms are always celebrated at the Easter Vigil, except for special or emergency situations.

Hmm I’ll ask el priesto see what I can do.

Do you have to do any other public stuff during the rite?

all sacraments of the Church are liturgy so by definition are public. Even confession, which is privately between the confessor and the priest is public in the sense that the priest represents the whole Church. So even if Baptism for some reason is performed outside Mass, or not in the parish church itself, it is a public act of the Church because it is liturgy. There should not be private baptisms (not in the parish church) without a good pastoral reason (illness for instance). What is meant by “public” is that this is liturgy, the public prayer of the Church, whether or not it happens during Mass (the norm for Baptism) or in the church building itself. The parents, godparents and minister are present with the godparents in particular representing the whole Church.

Brides anguishing about whether or not to invite this or that relative bear in mind that a Catholic wedding is always a public act and no one may be excluded (what you do for the reception is your business). This also pertains to children of divorced and remarried parents making first communion: no one may be excluded.

Yes he will go through the Rite of Acceptance at a Sunday Mass. This is when he is presented to the parish community and is accepted into the Catechumenate as a Catechumen. It takes place after the time of Inquiry.

In general, the Church has a process, called Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which is (approximately) one year long, culminating in the Holy Saturday Night liturgy. Having been involved with the process for over 12 years now in my parish, I would hope that he would be willing to participate in the process. It has been brought back from the early Church, and as he is joining the Church through a specific parish, I would hope that he could come to understand that this is not a private matter, but a matter of the Body of Christ, the whole Church, as and through the parish. He doesn’t usually have to worry too much, as he has company with others going through the same process (there is strength in numbers!),

Great answer…again!

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