PS 88-89: Liturgy of Baptism at the Easter Vigil

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check the full document Paschale Solemnitatis on this site, among many on the internet. In these two sections, Rome treats the third major part of the Easter Vigil:

88. The third part of the Vigil is the baptismal liturgy. Christ’s passover and ours is now celebrated. This is given full expression in those churches which have a baptismal font, and more so when the Christian initiation of adults is held, or at least the Baptism of infants. (Cf. The Roman Ritual, Rite of Baptism for Children, 6)

Many parishes–probably most–celebrate the reception of baptized Christians. This can be done, but it is not the first choice. Tradition suggests that baptism is the heart of this portion. Perhaps it could be asserted that Patristic tradition did not know instances of baptized Christians out of union with the local church. RCIA also provides for a combined rite. Whatever a parish decides, it is better that it not be an automatic decision, but one carefully discerned weighing local need as well as the theology of the Vigil.

Even if there are no candidates for Baptism, the blessing of baptismal water should still take place in parish churches. If this blessing does not take place at the baptismal font but in the sanctuary, baptismal water should be carried afterwards to the baptistery there to be kept throughout the whole of paschal time. (Cf. Roman Missal, The Easter Vigil, 48) Where there are neither candidates for Baptism nor any need to bless the font, Baptism should be commemorated by blessing of water destined for sprinkling upon the people. (Cf. Ibidem, 45)

After the baptisms, or at least dealing with the water, the people are questioned.

89. Next follows the renewal of baptismal promises, introduced by some words on the part of the celebrating priest. The faithful reply to the questions put to them, standing and holding lighted candles in their hands. They are then sprinkled with water; in this way the gestures and words recall to them the Baptism they have received. The celebrating priest passes through the main part of the church and sprinkles the people while all sing the antiphon “Vidi aquam” or another suitable song of a baptismal character. (Cf. Ibidem, 47)

Note the instruction that the priest pass through the main part of the church. That probably means that every nook, cranny, cry space, and balcony is not required.

Note the song that accompanies this action should be baptismal in character. Water will likely be mentioned, but it occurs to me that if a song focuses more on the believer’s mission in baptism that will cover the base.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to PS 88-89: Liturgy of Baptism at the Easter Vigil

  1. Liam says:

    Ted Marier penned a nice simple vernacular chant setting for the Vidi Aquam that we used for decades for the sprinkling rite. Oddly, though, in later years for some reason we never sang the Alleluia antiphon that was precisely for the Easter season, but used the other antiphon.

  2. Dick Martin says:

    Todd; I can’t believe the high powered jargon that comes across this site. It must make all you intellectuals Happy but what about the bulk of the Pew Setters who don’t get a thing out of these: Paschale Solemnitatis, Antiphon ” Vidi Aquam, Saris, Cappa Magna, Trads, Novus Ordo, Pedagogically, Fan boy, excess of Trent, Ars Celebranti, Society for Creation Anachronism….It goes on and on. There are so many good topics for good sermons that end; uplifting the Seekers of the Gospel of GRACE. I haven’t Read anything of scriptural Truth worth commenting on; you must be happy for that .. Here’s one to share with others who are seeking Everlasting Life.
    John 5:24
    “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    • Todd says:

      Hello Dick. Everybody has jargon, even evangelical born-again Christians. Protestant and non-denominational pastors have their own jargon. I’ve talked with them. I know. We all went to divinity school, though not the same ones.

      What you are seeking is context, and I think I can assure you that internet communication doesn’t facilitate the sharing of faith between believers who, perhaps, don’t quite understand one another.

      Since you are not a Catholic, I wouldn’t suggest you bother with Catholic documents. I’ve invited you to an email discussion a few times, and I don’t believe you’ve ever responded. What you are left with is this: trying to shoehorn me and what I write about in a context different from how you share faith. It’s not going to work, my friend.

      Send me a note. We’ll have a chat.

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