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186 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

The Essential Rite of the Sacrament

The bishop, priest, or deacon either pours water three times on the per-

son’s head or immerses the candidate in water three times. In the Latin

Church, he accompanies the act with the words, “[Name], I baptize you

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The

celebrant matches each pouring or immersion with the invocation of

each of the Divine Persons. The ritual of immersion or washing helps

us understand that our sins are buried and washed away as we die with

Jesus, and we are filled with divine light and life as we rise from immer-

sion in the water or are cleansed by the pouring.

In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen turns toward the East

and the priest says: “The servant of God, [Name], 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. (CCC, no. 1240)

“Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation

of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its

culmination in a single celebration of the three Sacraments of Initiation:

Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist” (CCC, no. 1233). After the

completion of initiation, the neophytes or new members begin the period

of continued learning and formation in Christian life called



With regard to infants, in the Latin Church, the Sacraments of

Confirmation and Eucharist are received at a later time after Baptism.

This is partly because of the emphasis on the bishop as the ordinary min-

ister of Confirmation. Though the bishop cannot baptize everyone, he

has a role in everyone’s initiation into the Church by confirming them.

In the Eastern Churches, the Baptism of infants is followed in the same

ceremony by Confirmation (Chrismation) and Eucharist.

The Anointing with Sacred Chrism

The celebrant anoints the newly baptized with the sacred Chrism (a

perfumed oil signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit), so that united with