Sacraments of Initiation

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  • Created by: JuanVelo
  • Created on: 02-01-16 14:06

The origins of the rite of baptism

Christian baptism goes back to the baptism performed by John the Baptist. John tottaly submerged people in the river Jordan to show that they wanted to change their lifestyle and turn to God.

Jesus went to get baptised to be pubically recognised as the messiah they had been waiting for. It was also to set an example so others would follow in his footsteps. 

Baptism in the early Church

  • Priest takes adults to a place of running water
  • Baptism would take place
  • The newly baptised would be clothed in a white garment and brought to the Bishop.
  • Bishop would give them the gift of the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands
  • They would then join in on the Eucharist for the first time

This practice shows how the 3 sacaments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist together make a person a full Christian. 

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The rites of baptism

When it was no longer illegal to be a Christian, many more people were baptised, espicially the very young because people believed if you wasn't baptised, you couldn't go to heaven and as infants were dying young, they began to baptise babies as soon as they were born which then became immposible for the Bishop to attend every baptism. It was also then immpossible for it to be done at Easter so the laying on of hands became a seperate ceremony called confirmation.

Infant baptism

  • Welcome/ sign of the cross- the family is greeted at the door 
  • Gospel Reading- a sign that the new baby is called to hear and live the good news of Jesus
  • Prayer that casts out the power of evil-before a person becomes a child of God, this power is removed and replacd with the power of God
  • Oil of Catechumens- this is a symbol of strength as it is not always easy to live a Christian life
  • Baptismal Vows- made on behalf of the baby
  • Water- poured on the head three times as the priest says "I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit".
  • Oil of Chrism- a sign that in the eyes of God, the new disciple shares Christ's mission as priest, phrophet and king.
  • White Garment- shows they are free from sin and pure
  • Candle- symbolises that the child has received the light of Christ
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The rites of baptism

If an older person is baptised, the main differences are:

  • The person speaks the vow for themselves, through a sponsor (instead of godparents) who is a confirmed Catholic who agrees to support the newly baptised Christian on the spiritual journey.
  • The annointing with Chrism is often replaced by the conferring of the Holy Spirit. This goes back to the practice  of the early Church when the new member received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and the annointing at the same ceremony.
  • Mass follows, and the newly baptised receives Holy Communion for the first time, making them a full member of the Church

Baptism is the only sacarement that is accepted by nearly all Christian group and is accepte as long as a baptsied Christian pours water on the head as they say"I baptise you in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit".

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Infant baptism For and Against

Infant baptism

  • Child grows up with people who share the same faith
  • Frees them from original sin
  • easier for them to reject it later on if they have an understadning first
  • the Holy Spirit guides them
  • teaches them morale values

On the other hand

  • they are tooyoung to understand what it means
  • they should be able to make their own choice
  • people may get children baptised because it is what is expected
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Believers' baptism

Belivers baptism: initiation into the Church by immersion in water of people old enough to make the choice for themselves

Believers' baptism involves total immersion in water. This is because those who practice is claim that, since Jesus was baptised an adult by total immersion, this is the best way. It also ensures that the individual personally understand the faith that they are commiting themsleves to. 

  • The minister gives a sermon explaining the immportance of baptism
  • Those who wish to be baptised are called forward
  • They are asked if they have repented their sins and have faith in Jesus Christ
  • Each candidate may read a short passage from scripture and give a brief account on how they have accepted Jesus as their Lord. (testimony)
  • Minister + candidate step into the pool or running water. Minister will say "[name] because you have repented of your sins and have requested baptism, I now baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen" 
  • The candidate is then fully immersed, a sign of the death of their old life
  • The candidate leaves the pool, haven risen to new life with Jesus. They then change their clothes before rejoining the service
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Sacraments as rites of passage and initiation


  • baptism
  • confirmation
  • eucharist
  • marriage
  • ordination
  • reconcilliation
  • sacrament of the sick


  • marked by baptism- baby becomes child of god and a member of god's family
  • when received as an adult, also annoited with chrism to show power of HS filling their lives
  • Confirmation is received later in life whihc makes the believer ful members of the church through personal commitment
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  • makes person a full member of the church
  • impacts how they will raise their own kids
  • the candidate makes the decison for themselves 
  • it gives tenagers guidance and gifts of the HS during an important stage of their development  HOWEVER...
  • some denominations do not have it 
  • the person is already a child of God 
  • After gospel reading, they are presented to bishop who addresses them in homily
  • The candidate renews baptisimal vows
  • kneels before bishop- bishop places hand on head (laying on og hands)
  • Sponsor represents support of catholic community- place hand on shoulder 
  • Bishop makes sign of cross with CHRISM on candidate's head --- CONFIRMATION
  • Candidate&bishop shake hands as a sign of peace to show they are unites in peace of christ
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Confirmation - Diff practices


  • baby is baptised and is anointe on head, chest, hands, feet with chrism
  • also receives holy communion - (follows order of sacraments in early church)
  • makes child a full member of church however people question whether it is a good idea to receive all sacraments al at once in a way they never get the opportunity to ACCEPT THE FAITH THEMSELVES


  • confirmed at 7 (notably in Salford)
  • questions whether children are full aware
  • people argue children only receive it because they are told to


  • Babies may be baptised but only young adults/ adults are confirmed
  • it is usual for them to receive communion after they have been confirmed or received into membership
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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

They help a believer to become a full individual

They give the newly confimed help to live a full christian life

The Holy Spirit is the power of God at work in the world in the hearts of all who believe

They help them live a life following God's will and becoming closer to God

  • wisdom
  • understaning
  • righ judgement (or counsel)
  • Courage (or fortitude)
  • knowledge
  • reverance (or piety)
  • wonder and awe
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