Baptismal Promises

The family will gather around the Baptism font, which holds the water used for Baptism. The priest or deacon asks the parents what name have they given to their child and what do they ask for their child and they reply, "Baptism". Later the parents make Baptism promises on behalf of their child. These promises are based on the Apostles Creed.

Sign of the Cross

The cross is a reminder of the love that Jesus Christ showed by giving his life for his friends. The tracing of a cross on the forehead of the person being baptised is an invisible "marking" that says "they belong to Jesus." The priest or deacon will trace the cross on the forehead of the child and invite the parents and godparents to do the same.

Word of God

As every liturgy is based around the word of God in Scripture there will be some readings from the Bible. The priest gives a short homily or reflection on the readings.

Baptism with Water

The priest pours water over the child’s head (or immerses the child in water) and says "I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

The water is a sign of cleansing. It is also a sign of life, because without water nothing can grow. And it is a sign of the new spiritual life into which the baptised person is entering.

Anointing with Oil

The priest anoints the child on the chest with the Oil of Baptism. After Baptism, he then anoints the child's forehead with the Oil of Chrism.

The Oil of Baptism (Catechumens) is olive oil which has been specially blessed. It is associated with the days when athletes used to rub oil into their bodies before events to strengthen them and make their skin more supple. It symbolises strengthening for the challenges of life ahead.

The Oil of Chrism is a combination of olive oil and balsam, and symbolises the sealing with the Holy Spirit.

White Garment

The child is clothed in a white garment which is a symbol of purity and innocence. Sometimes families like to use a christening gown or shawl that has been used by previous generations, while others will use a white baptismal gown, a stole or white bib.


A candle will be lit as a sign of this new life. It is usually lit from the Easter Candle which symbolises the Light of Christ, and will be held by a parent or godparent.

Baptismal certificate

At the end of the ceremony the parents are given a Baptismal Certificate which they keep as a record of their child's initiation into the Church and present at future sacraments.

Note, it is customary in many Australian parishes to welcome the child at a Parish Mass if the Baptism is not celebrated during a Mass.

Baptism photo on Lightstock

14 October 2019