What's baptism like?

Okay as a converting Roman Catholic I am supposed to get baptized this Easter. I am 16 and was raised Baptist so all I know about Catholic baptism is you get sprinkled not dunked. I already know about the sponsor thing; Anything else I should or would want to know?

What is it like? It’ like water dripping on your head.

If you’re a woman, you probably shouldn’t wear a thin top, or a white one.

Ummm… thanks?

You asked. :shrug: It’s what the RCIA people here tell all women, as our priest has a rather unsteady hand and tends to pour water all over your entire upper body.

Im not upset.

I suppose that means you were not baptized in the Baptist church (those who were wouldn’t need it, as the vast majority of Protestant baptisms are considered valid and baptism cannot be repeated).

The practice varies from one parish to the next. In my parish, adults stand waist deep in a jacuzzi and the priest uses a gold “seashell” to pour water over the head.

Yea i was never baptized before. And I guess I am just excited lol Thanks for being so nice and informative! :smiley: xoxoxo <3

If you are a baptized Baptist and can show proof of your baptism, the Catholic Church will not baptize you again. And indeed, the Catholic Church does not “sprinkle” during Baptism. The Priest pours a small amount of water on your head as you lean over.

Thank you! :smiley: My mom said they sprinkle but she is Baptist so lol Thanks for explaining! xoxoxo <3

Welcome home!

I would think that’s very much the exception, though, before the OP starts getting worried.

I always wonder about the practicalities, too - what about a wheelchair user, or if it’s the wrong time of the month for a girl?

Have you not discussed any of this in your RCIA classes?
At the baptism, one of several things will happen: You will be immersed in a pool of water, you will stand in the water and have water poured over your head, or you will lean over a smaller fount and have water poured over you. Whichever actually happens, the priest will baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. With each invocation he will either immerse you or pour water over your head for a total of 3 times. However it happens (immersion or pouring) really depends on the set up of your church.
If you have questions about the specifics at your parish, please bring them up at your RCIA class. These are the kinds of things you need to know.

Well, I suppose a wheelchair user could be lifted into the jacuzzi by a couple of burly parish members (there is a place to sit in there, naturally). The “wrong time of month” would probably just require holding her head over it.

Alternately, “problem” catechumens might be baptized at a different parish. Last year, we had a catechumen who was wheelchair bound. She was not there at Easter vigil. Instead, the catechumen baptized was a woman I had never seen before (or since). I suspect we may have had a swap due to the wheelchair.

I’ve never seen an adult baptism. Do they bend face-up or face-down?

Face down whenever I’ve seen it (and had it done to me).

Actually, dunking is fairly common in areas with many newer churches, built or renovated c.1980 or later. It’s not my preferred method, but it is widespread in America, at least.

In other situations, such as the wheelchair or menses, most pastors would likely just pour water over the head, possibly using the side of the font where infants are baptized.


From the Catechism—pay particular attention to Paragraphys 1239-1240 for the “water” part. I love the use of chrism (described in later paragraphs). What an incredible and beautiful aroma. When my children were all baptized, I never wanted to wash that scent away. Every few years, when a new child wold be baptized, getting the chance to smell that smell again just made me happier and happier to be a Catholic.

The mystagogy of the celebration

1234 The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration. By following the gestures and words of this celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each newly baptized person.

1235 The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.

1236 The proclamation of the Word of God enlightens the candidates and the assembly with the revealed truth and elicits the response of faith, which is inseparable from Baptism. Indeed Baptism is “the sacrament of faith” in a particular way, since it is the sacramental entry into the life of faith.

1237 Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. Thus prepared, he is able to confess the faith of the Church, to which he will be “entrusted” by Baptism.39

1238 The baptismal water 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."40

1239 The essential rite of the sacrament follows: Baptism properly 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. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate’s head.

1240 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.

1241 The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.41

1242 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 baptismal anointing.

1243 The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has "put on Christ,"42 has risen with Christ. The candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In him the baptized are "the light of the world."43

The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say the prayer of the children of God: “Our Father.”

1244 First Holy Communion. Having become a child of God clothed with the wedding garment, the neophyte is admitted "to the marriage supper of the Lamb"44 and receives the food of the new life, the body and blood of Christ. The Eastern Churches maintain a lively awareness of the unity of Christian initiation by giving Holy Communion to all the newly baptized and confirmed, even little children, recalling the Lord’s words: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them."45 The Latin Church, which reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of reason, expresses the orientation of Baptism to the Eucharist by having the newly baptized child brought to the altar for the praying of the Our Father.

1245 The solemn blessing concludes the celebration of Baptism. At the Baptism of newborns the blessing of the mother occupies a special place.

I my parish the infants get the water poured on their heads while the grown ups get completely immersed in the baptismal pool at the Easter Mass.

Our last priest used handfuls of chrism on the adults (if he used that much on the children, they’d be too slippery to hold). :smiley:

Only if he was trying to hold them by the head:)

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