The Meaning of Baptism, A Super Easy Explanation

The Sacrament of Baptism, together with Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Catholic Church. As the Catechism states, it is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission (C.C.C 1213). That is a lot to unpack to get to the meaning of Baptism!

Meaning of Baptism
The Baptism of Jesus

The Meaning of Baptism, By Its Effects

Before we try to put it more simply, if you are unfamiliar with the seven sacraments, it would be helpful to read this article on the Seven Sacraments in The Catholic Church. Essentially, the Sacrament of Baptism does nine things for the Christian soul:

  1. It is the gateway sacrament. It is the foundation of the whole Christian life, allowing you access to the other sacraments.
  2. It bestows Sacramental Grace. The Particular Grace Sacrament of Baptism is a rebirth in Christ, a share in the divine life of God, opens a pathway for blessings from God to the soul, enables and helps growth in virtue, and delivers spiritual energy.
  3. It brings about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of Baptism makes a Christian a temple of the Holy Spirit and gives them the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, understanding, piety, and fear of the Lord).
  4. It makes the Christian a child of God: Baptism consecrates the Christian to God. In it, we become an adopted child of God. The individual then belongs to God, and he takes ownership of the person.
  5. It makes you a member of the Church; Baptism gives you access to a spiritual family with your other brothers and sisters in Christ, and grants admission to the mystical body of Christ, the Church.
  6. It forgives sin. The Sacrament of Baptism washes away both original sin and personal sin. The newly baptized Christian is in a state of grace, which brings a desire to conform his life to Christ and the gospels.
  7. It gives a spiritual status: the baptized are, as another Christ, anointed priest, prophet, and king.
  8. It makes the baptized a co-worker with the Lord: it brings with it the gift of apostolic zeal. It transforms the individual into a laborer in the vineyard of the Lord and a minister of Christ and His Church, enabling him to give witness in word and action.
  9. It brings Salvation: the Sacrament of Baptism bestows immortality on a person. It entitles a person to a share of the redemption won by Christ on the Cross, bringing with it the possibility of salvation, eternal life, and everlasting glory in heaven. Importantly, it connects us to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

The Meaning of Baptism, By How It Is Performed

Reception of Children

Celebrant: What name do you give your child?

Parents: N.

Celebrant: What do you ask of God’s Church for N.?

Parents: Baptism.

Celebrant: You have asked to have your children baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring them up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Parents: We do.

Celebrant: Godparents, are you ready to help these parents in their duty as Christian mothers and fathers?

All the godparents: We are.

Celebrant: My dear children, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of his cross. I now trace the cross on your foreheads, and invite your parents and godparents to do the same.

Liturgy of the Word

1st Readings for the Sacrament of Baptism – (one of the following may be used)

  • Exodus 17:3-7
  • Ezekiel 36:24-28
  • Ezekiel 47:1-9,12
  • Romans 6:3-5
  • Romans 8:28-32
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
  • Galatians 3:26-28
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • 1 Peter 2:4-5,9-10

Responsorial Psalm

Gospel Acclamation

Gospels for the Sacrament of Baptism – (one of the following may be used)

  • Matthew 22:35-40
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Mark 1:9-11
  • Mark 10:13-16
  • Mark 12:28-34
  • John 3:1-6
  • John 4:5-15
  • John 6:44-47
  • John 7:37-39
  • John 9:1-7
  • John 15:1-11
  • John 19:31-35



Celebrant: My brothers and sisters, let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ to look lovingly on these children who are to be baptized, on their parents and godparents, and on all the baptized. Please respond: Lord hear our prayer.

Leader: By the mystery of your death and resurrection, bathe these children in light, give them the new life of baptism and welcome them into your holy Church.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Through baptism and confirmation, make them your faithful followers and witnesses to your gospel.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Lead them by a holy life to the joys of God’s kingdom.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Make the lives of their parents and godparents examples of faith to inspire these children.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Keep their families always in your love. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Renew the grace of our baptism in each one of us.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Celebrant: Let us continue our prayer by calling upon the Saints. Please respond: Pray for us

Celebrant: Holy Mary, Mother of God

All: pray for us

Celebrant: Saint John the Baptist

All: pray for us

Celebrant: Saint Joseph

All: pray for us

Celebrant: Saint Peter and Saint Paul

All: pray for us

Celebrant: St. N.

All: pray for us

Celebrant: All holy men and women

All: pray for us

Prayer of Exorcism and Anointing before the Sacrament of Baptism

Celebrant: Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness, and bring him into the splendor of your kingdom of light. We pray for these children: set them free from original sin, make them temples of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell within them. (We ask this) through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: We anoint you with the oil of salvation in the name of Christ our Savior; may he strengthen you with his power, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

Celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism

Celebrant: My dear brothers and sisters, God uses the sacrament of water to give his divine life to those who believe in him. Let us turn to him, and ask him to pour his gift of life from this font on the children he has chosen.

Blessing of the Water

Celebrant: Father you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament. At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery, to be an image of God’s holy people, set free from sin by baptism.

In the waters of the Jordan your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Spirit. Your Son willed that water and blood should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross. After his resurrection he told his disciples: “Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Spirit give to the water of this font the grace of your Son. You create man in your own likeness: cleanse him from sin in a new birth to innocence by water and spirit. We ask you, Father, with your Son to send the Holy Spirit upon the water of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him in newness of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith

Celebrant: Dear parents and godparents: You have come here to present these children for baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit they are to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love. On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring them up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives them is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in their hearts.

If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, renew now the vows of your own baptism. Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of the church. This is the faith in which these children are about to be baptized.

(And I invite you, this gathered community, to make the same promises, to profess the same faith and to accept your role as guardians and teachers of this faith for the children. Please respond: I do.)

Celebrant: Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: Do you reject Satan, father of sin and price of darkness?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, an is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

Parents and godparents: I do.

Celebrant: This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sacrament of Baptism

Celebrant: Parents and godparents is it your will that N. should be baptized in the faith of the Church, which we have all professed with you?

Parents and godparents: It is.

Celebrant: N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Anointing with Chrism

Celebrant: N., N., God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as members of his body, sharing everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Clothing with White Garment

Celebrant: N., N., you have (each) become a new creation, and have clothed yourselves in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of our Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Lighted Candle

Celebrant: Receive the light of Christ. Someone from each family (father or godfather) lights the child’s candle from the Easter candle. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. These children of yours have been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as children of the light. May they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

Ephphetha or Prayer over Ears and Mouth

Celebrant: The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All: Amen.


Celebrant: You have put on Christ, in him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia.

Lord’s Prayer

Celebrant: Dearly beloved, these children have been reborn in baptism. They are now called children of God, for so indeed they are. In confirmation they will receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. In holy communion they will share the banquet of Christ’s sacrifice, calling God their Father in the midst of the Church. In their name, in the Spirit of our common sonship, let us pray together in the words our Lord has given us:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.


Celebrant: God the Father, through his Son, the Virgin Mary’s child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers, as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. May he bless the mothers of these children. They now thank God for the gift of their children. May they be one with them in thanking him for ever in heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: God is the giver of all life, human and divine. May he bless the fathers of these children. With their wives they will be the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: By God’s gift, through water and the Holy Spirit, we are reborn to everlasting life. In his goodness, may he continue to pour out his blessing upon all present, who are his sons and daughters. May he make them always, wherever they may be, faithful members of his holy people. May he send his peace upon all who are gathered here, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All: Amen.

Celebrant: May almighty God, the Father, and the Son + and the Holy Spirit, bless you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen

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