The Baptismal Ceremony and the Symbolism
By Mary Ned
What is Baptism? What is the history of Baptism? What do the Godparents do during a Baptism Ceremony? What does the water stand for in Baptism? What does the white garment stand for? What does the oil and the candle stand for?
Baptism is the first one of the seven sacraments. This sacrament initiates a person into the Catholic faith and makes them a member of the church. In the year 416, the Roman Empire made infant baptism compulsory. For centuries Roman Catholic tradition taught if a baby died without being baptized they would live in limbo. In April of 2007, Pope Benedict changed this status of them living in limbo. He created a new doctrine that stated all children go to heaven baptized or not.
In Baptism our sins are taken away and unite us as one of God's children as well as a member of the Catholic Church. In preparation for this ceremony the parents and godparents usually need to take classes.
During the ceremony the parents as well as the godparents have different roles to play. Godparents usually hold the baby and make promises for the child's spiritual growth and to play a part in their development throughout their life.
The water, in Baptism washes away our Original Sin and makes us a new creation in Christ. The white garment in Baptism is a sign of our Christian dignity. Sometimes these christening outfits are passed down from generation to generation. It also means we have "put on Christ" and now we also are one of his followers.
The Chrism or Blessed Oil that is placed on the forehead and the chest in the sign of the cross stands for the Holy Spirit. The Baptized has now received the special gifts of The Holy Spirit. This oil is blessed by the bishop during Holy Week.
The candle is Light of Christ. This candle was lit from the candle that gets blessed at the Easter Vigil. We are asked to keep that light burning brightly.
There is a lot of symbolism used in the Catholic Church. These symbols you will see used once again at the time of our burial. This is done to remind us on how we were Baptized in the name of our Lord and how we return back to Him the same way we came into this world. A Baptism
is a powerful and sacred event and marks the beginning of your baby's wonderful life.
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