Number of baptisms falling

Cathy Lynn Grossman at Religion News Service takes a closer look at what’s causing this, across many denominations: Last month, Pope Francis gave the sacrament a boost when he called a pregnant, unmarried woman to encourage her faith and offered to baptize her baby. While his main message was anti-abortion,  his call also reminded Catholics that children [Read More...]

Report: Pope Benedict ordered changes to baptism rite before he resigned

A small but significant change appears to be forthcoming, according to Sandro Magister:  The Sunday after the Epiphany is the Sunday of the baptism of Jesus. And on each of these Sundays, year after year, Benedict XVI administered the first sacrament of Christian initiation to a certain number of children, in the Sistine Chapel. Each [Read More...]

It’s never too late

Above, a 95-year-old brand new Christian. The story: last week, I got this e-mail from my goddaughter Branda, who joined the church through RCIA a few years ago. She now lives in Arizona: Ok, clearly hell must have frozen over…my Father wants to be baptized!! Hey, at 95, no sense in jumping into anything crazy [Read More...]

“A historic moment”: Catholic, Protestant churches agree to recognize each other’s baptisms

 Details:  Leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches will sign a historic agreement Tuesday in Austin by which the two traditions will formally recognize each other’s liturgical rites of baptism. The product of seven years of talks among five denominations, the agreement will be signed at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at a prayer service [Read More...]

Pope baptizes 20 babies in Sistine Chapel

Details:  The frescoed walls of the Sistine Chapel are ringing with the wails and coos of newborns as Pope Benedict XVI presides over his annual Mass to baptize 20 babies. Other babies slept through the Mass during which Benedict told the godparents their job is to teach the faith by example, even if it’s unfashionable, [Read More...]

The baptism of Jesus: “an act of radical identification with humanity”

On his Facebook page, Father James Martin, S.J., offers a snippet from his forthcoming book about Jesus: Why does Jesus feel the need to be baptized? Let’s see what the Gospels have to say. In Mark’s Gospel, he simply does it–sans explanation. Jesus “came from Nazareth in Galilee” and, upon his baptism, he saw the [Read More...]

Homily for January 13, 2013: Baptism of the Lord

[Click here for readings.] At home, I have a little green book that someone gave me as an ordination gift: it’s the Rite of Baptism for Children, with all the prayers and readings for the sacrament. In the back, there’s a notation I scribbled on the inside cover: “Margaret Flanagan.  July 1, 2007.  First baby [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words: baptism!

I think this picture, posted by a friend on his FB page, says it all. [Read more...]

“Christ is bathed in light…”

“Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light. Christ is baptized; let us also go down with him, and rise with him. John is baptizing when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptizer; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the [Read More...]

Splash of recognition: on celebrating baptism

Last weekend, I wrote about my experience baptizing 15 babies (gulp).  Today, I talk a bit more about deacons and the sacrament in my column “All Things New”: We find ourselves intersecting with people at critical pinpoints in their lives—baptisms, weddings, wakes. Moments of arrival and departure, beginnings and endings. But there’s something about baptisms [Read More...]