When a catechist or other episcopal appointee baptizes, much of the ritual remains in place up to the washing:
20. In the shorter rite of baptism designed for the use of catechists, [See SC 68.] the reception of the children, the celebration of the word of God, or the instruction by the minister, and the general intercessions are retained. Before the font, the minister offers a prayer invoking God and recalling the history of salvation as it relates to baptism. After the baptismal washing, an adapted formulary is recited in place of the anointing with chrism and the whole rite concludes in the customary way. The omissions, therefore, are the exorcism, the anointing with oil of catechumens and with chrism, and the ephphetha rite.
Obviously, there is no prayer of blessing the water, just a prayer invoking God. The anointing with chrism is likewise replaced with an adapted formula. The omission of the anointing with the oil of catechumens is interesting, as a catechist may anoint catechumens when a priest is not present. The priest is preferred for the conferral of this oil, though.
21. The shorter rite for baptizing a child in danger of death and in the absence of the ordinary minister has a twofold structure:
- At the moment of death or when there is urgency because of imminent danger of death, the minister, [See General Introduction to Christian Initiation 16.] omitting all other ceremonies, pours water (not necessarily blessed but real and natural water) on the head of the child and pronounces the customary formulary. [See General Introduction to Christian Initiation 23.]
- if, however, it is prudently judged that there is sufficient time, several of the faithful may be gathered together and, if one of them is able to lead the others in a short prayer, the following rite may be used: an explanation by the minister of the sacrament, a short set of general intercessions, the profession of faith by the parents or one godparent and the pouring of the water with the customary words. But if those present are uneducated, the minister of the sacrament should recite the profession of faith aloud and baptize according to the rite for use in danger of death.
Sensible practice for “danger of death” circumstances. When a priest is present, confirmation is required to be conferred when the child is in danger of death, obviously omitting the post-baptismal anointing:
22. In danger of death, the priest or deacon may also use this shorter form if necessary. If there is time and he has the sacred chrism, the parish priest (pastor) or other priest enjoying the same faculty should not fail to confer confirmation after baptism. In this case he omits the postbaptismal anointing with chrism.
I have a friend who is a long-time nurse who did baptize a few infants in her time. Anyone else with that experience? Any readers who have ever been appointed by the bishop to baptize in a regular instance in the absence of a priest? Or other comments?