Baptism is the sacrament by which we become Christians. It frees us from Original Sin, makes us children of God and members of the Church.

Why is Baptism important?

Baptism is of the greatest importance for us because it is the ordinary way of salvation for every human being (ccc. 1257). It is the gateway to the other sacraments and the whole Christian life:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Mt 28:19-20

What happens to us through Baptism?

The water of Baptism symbolises both washing and new life. The effects of Baptism are: the washing away of all sins, especially the guilt of Original Sin inherited from our first parents; a new and supernatural life as children of God and members of the Church.

“You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12

How do we prepare for Baptism?

An adult prepares for Baptism by becoming a catechumen, that is, someone who is being catechised (educated) in the Christian Faith. The formal process and rite for this is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).

How does Baptism take place?

Anyone who believes and has not already been baptised can receive Baptism. Following early Church practice, the Church also baptises the children of Christian parents who make an act of faith and commitment on their child’s behalf. New born babies should be baptised as soon as possible. A sacred minister normally baptises. In cases of necessity any person can baptise if they intend to do what the Church does in Baptism. They must use water and the Trinitarian formula.

Baptism is conferred by immersion in water or by pouring water over the head, together with the proper form of words: “[The person’s name] I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

This article is originally from ‘CREDO: The Catholic Faith explained’ by CTS.