What is the Sacrament of Baptism?

Mission Lab

Baptism is the sacrament through which we are: (1) reborn as children of God, (2) united with Jesus into His death and Resurrection, (3) cleansed of Original Sin and personal sins, and (4) welcomed into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Baptism is the sacrament through which we are reborn as children of God.

Baptism is directed toward our participation in the fullness of Christ’s divine life. By this sacrament we become truly incorporated into Christ and are reborn to a sharing in the divine life. Baptism is our new birth as children of God, a beginning of a new life in us, God’s own life of grace brought to us by Jesus Christ.

Christ Himself, through the minister, baptizes us and makes us holy with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and impresses on our souls a character or mark that cannot be taken away.

2. Baptism is the sacrament through which we are united with Jesus into His Death and Resurrection.

Through Baptism the new Christian is united so closely with Jesus that he shares in Christ’s death and Resurrection. Through this sacrament a Christian dies to his old self and rises to new life. St. Paul says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3–4).

3. Baptism is the sacrament through which we are cleansed of Original Sin and personal sins.

Through Baptism our sins are forgiven, and we are reconciled with God. We receive a sharing in the life of God and become part of God’s people. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16–17).

During the rite of Baptism, the minister immerses the person to be baptized in water or pours water on his head while saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The water is a sign of life and of cleansing. The words used in Baptism signify that the life the person enters is that of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus, so that we may share with Him the life of God He brought into the world.

4. Baptism is the sacrament through which we are welcomed into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Catholic Church has always held that Baptism is necessary to become a member. For believing Christians, the Catholic Church is the only place where we can live out our faith to the fullest. We need to hear the Gospel and to be a part of the continuing work of Jesus in the world. We also need the support of our Christian community as we grow in the Faith.