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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

Ceremonies of Baptism

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They are ancient and symbolic. At the Baptism of an infant, it is presented at the font by the sponsors. First come interrogations and answers, requesting "faith and life everlasting." The priest breathes on the face of the child, a symbol of the imparting of the Spirit of God. He makes the sign of the cross on forehead and breast, that God may be ever in the child's mind and heart. Salt, emblematic of wisdom, is put into the child's mouth. A solemn exorcism is pronounced, to free the soul from the dominion of Satan. The priest's stole is laid upon the child, signifying that he is being led into the Church of Christ. As a profession of faith, the Apostles' Creed is recited by the priest and the sponsors, and this is followed by the Our Father. The ceremony of the Ephpheta takes place, i.e.,the applying of saliva to the ears and nostrils of the child, reminding us of the curing of the deaf-mute in the Gospel (Mark 7) and symbolizing the opening of the senses to the truths of God. Then comes a renunciation of Satan with all his works and pomps, and an anointing is made with the Oil of Catechumens in the form of a cross on the child's breast and back, signifying the open profession of the faith of Christ and the patient bearing of life's burdens. After another profession of faith in questions and answers, the sacrament itself is administered, the sponsors holding the child at the font. An unction is then made on the top of the head with Holy Chrism, as a sign of consecration to God. A white cloth, placed on the head, symbolizes sanctifying grace; this is a survival of the white baptismal robe of ancient times. A lighted candle is presented, emblematic of faith and charity. The ceremonies of Baptism of adults differ somewhat from the above.

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Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Ceremonies of Baptism'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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