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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.


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.