PCS 281-282: Brief Instruction and Dialogue

The initiation rites begin with an informal greeting followed by a dialogue with the sick person. First:

281. The minister greets the family and then speaks with the sick person about the request for baptism and, if the sick person is not a catechumen, about the erasons for conversion. After deciding to baptize him or her, the minister should, if necessary, instruct the person briefly.

Then the minister invites the family, the godparent, and some friends and neighbors to gather around the sick person, and selects one or two of these as witnesses. Water, even if it is not blessed, is prepared.

The minister makes inquiries of the people present, differently worded from what you would hear in a church baptism:

282. The minister addresses the sick person in these or similar words:

Dear brother/sister, you have asked to be baptized because you wish to have eternal life. This is eternal life: to know the one, true God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. This is the faith of Christians. Do you acknowledge this?

R. I do.

As well as professing your faith in Jesus Christ, you must also be willing to follow his commands, as Christians do. Are you willing to accept this?

R. I am.

And are you prepared to live as Christians do?

R. I am.

(Promise, therefore, that once you have recovered your strength, you will try to know Christ better and follow a course of Christian formation. Do you so promise?

R. I do.)

Turning to the godparent and to the witnesses, the minister asks them the following questions in these or similar words.

You have heard N.’s promise. As his/her godparent do you promise to remind him/her of it and to help him/her to learn the teaching of Christ, to take part in the life of our community, and to bear witness as a true Christian?

R. I do.

And will the rest of you, who have witnessed this promise, assist him/her in fulfilling it?

R. We will.

The minister turns to the sick person and says:

Therefore you will now be baptized into eternal life, in accordance with the command of our Lord Jesus.

The questions channel the intent of the various rites of initiation. They also reinforce the role of the godparent and the communit: faith is lived as a community experience; it is reinforced and lived by people assisting each other in the grace of Christ.

Other comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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