Why aren't Catholic baptisms conducted as part of a Mass?

I became Catholic at Easter Vigil 2007. As a Protestant, I was accustomed to baptisms being part of a Sunday service. I have always been pro-life. It seems that with a fairly large percentage of Catholics claiming their right to be “pro-choice,” perhaps, including baptism in weekend Masses might serve as a reminder of the value of the lives of babies.

In Protestant baptisms, the child is presented to the entire congregation, who also promises to play their part in the Christian upbringing of the child. It would also serve as another reminder of our own baptisms. Can parents request that the baptism of their baby be done during a Sunday Mass? I miss seeing baptisms and feel like I might be intruding, though I did stay in the back after Mass Mother’s Day this year to watch a baptism. Twenty-one years ago, I had my baby baptized on Mother’s Day. Baptisms are usually noted in our bulletin the week after they’ve been done.

Catholics can request that an infant be baptized during a Sunday Mass. There is a longstanding custom though that baptisms are held outside of Mass. Perhaps one reason for this is that it allowed parents to invite a large number of family and friends to witness the event – something that may be inadvisable for a Sunday Mass because it could cause unnecessary congestion in the pews and parking lot for those attending Sunday Mass. (Of course, such a custom may also be due to the fact that, in times when infant mortality was much higher, Catholic parents used to have babies baptized as quickly as possible – within a few days of birth – and did not wait for Sunday Mass.) If a family has a relatively small guest list, baptizing a baby during Sunday Mass is a lovely event.

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