GICI 7: Offices and Ministries of Baptism


One of the hang-ups of present day Catholicism is over ministry. Lay or clergy. Ordained or not. Active or receptive. Passages like today’s illustrate the Church doesn’t think in this way. Ministries are complementary: they work together to cooperate most fully with the grace of God.

The GICI recognizes that while pastors are responsible for baptism, they are not the sole actors in the various ministries needed to make this sacrament an effective means of grace.

7. The preparation for baptism and Christian instruction are both of vital concern to God’s people, the Church, which hands on and nourishes the faith received from the apostles. Through the ministry of the Church, adults are called to the Gospel by the Holy Spirit and infants are baptized in the faith of the Church and brought up in that faith. Therefore it is most important that catechists and other laypersons should work with priests and deacons in the preparation for baptism. In the actual celebration, the people of God (represented not only by the parents, godparents, and relatives, but also, as far as possible, by friends, neighbors, and some members of the local Church) should take an active part. Thus they will show their common faith and the shared joy with which the newly baptized are received into the community of the Church. 


The Church is explicit in what it calls ministry. Catechists and other lay people minister. It is that simple. This ministry is exercised in concert with the ordained. Also simple. GICI mentions the value of the baptism liturgy. An active participation is mentioned, but not for the purpose of individual edification. The value of active liturgical participation, as it is at Mass, is in the expression of faith for the benefit of the whole faith community.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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