The Place for Baptism Q. Should baptisms in our parish be included as a part of the Mass on Sundays? They used to be done separately, after Mass. Is there a particular form more proper than the other?

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:   

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Catechism devotes a chapter to the Sacraments of Initiation — that is, baptism, Eucharist and confirmation. The text remarks, “Certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel … profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion” (No. 1229).

Whether these sacraments are conferred at one time (as is the case with adult converts) or over the course of years (as with those reared as Catholics) Christ’s death and resurrection remain the center and focus of these sacraments. Therefore, the Mass is a logical time to celebrate them, as we do each year at the Easter Vigil. Indeed, in parishes that embrace the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, catechumens progress through a series of brief ceremonies at Mass, which allow the congregation to welcome them and acknowledge their progress in the faith.

The Catechism points out: “Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers” (No. 1253). This is a good argument for including baptism as part of the Eucharistic celebration. However, time constraints, especially in large parishes with many infants awaiting baptism, may make such public celebration of the sacrament impractical.