Chapter 15. Baptism: Becoming a Christian • 187
God’s people the person may remain forever a member of Christ, who
is Priest, Prophet, and King. In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, this
anointing is the Chrismation, or the Sacrament of Confirmation, and
is done immediately after Baptism. At the initiation of adults into the
Church at the Easter Vigil, Confirmation follows Baptism.
Reception of the White Garment and the Candle
Following the Anointing with Chrism, the minister of Baptism presents
the newly baptized with a white garment and a candle. The white gar-
ment shows that the newly baptized have put on Christ and have risen
with him. To be clothed in the baptismal white garment is to be clothed
in Christ’s protective love. Included in this ceremony is the admonition
to keep the garment unstained by sin. The Book of Revelation describes
the significance of the white robe: “They have washed their robes and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).
The candle is lit from the Paschal Candle, which represents the Risen
Christ. The lighted candle reminds the newly baptized of the light of
Christ they have received. It also reminds us that all those baptized in
Christ are to be lights for the world.
These two symbols used at Baptism appear again in the Latin
Church’s funeral liturgy in the forms of the white pall covering the cas-
ket and the lighted Paschal Candle, which ordinarily stands near the
casket. This is to remind us that the salvation and new life promised at
Baptism can now be experienced fully by the one who has gone to God.
THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the Lord himself affirms that
Baptism is necessary for salvation. “No one can enter the Kingdom of
God without being born of water and the Spirit” (Jn 3:5). Christ com-
manded his disciples to preach the Gospel, draw people to faith in him,
and baptize those who come to conversion. The Church does not neglect
the mission she has received from Christ to ensure that all be baptized
and reborn of water and the Spirit.