Q. What’s the proper setting for baptism? During Mass, or at a separate time?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
When the Catechism of the Catholic Church considers the Sacraments of Initiation (baptism, Eucharist and confirmation), it 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).
Adult converts receive these sacraments at one time. Those reared as Catholics receive them over the course of years, but in each case Christ’s death and resurrection remain the center and focus of the 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 RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), catechumens progress through a series of brief ceremonies at Mass, and these allow the congregation to welcome them and acknowledge their progress in the faith. This underscores the importance of the Catechism’s remark: “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.