Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross is the mark of Christians because Jesus Christ died on the cross. Parents and godparents trace it on the child’s forehead to show that the baby belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the sufferings of life.
Water is a symbol of both life and death. Its use in baptism is central to the sacrament representing taking on a new life in Christ.
Immersion is a more dramatic and powerful water ritual. In immersion at Assumption, the child’s body (but not the child’s head) is immersed into the baptismal water, symbolizing that the newly baptized is dying to sin and rising to new life. Immersion is most similar to the baptism performed by early Christians. The water in the baptismal font is heated for all baptisms.
The baptismal candle is a symbol of the light of Christ which is coming into the child’s life.
The Paschal [Easter] Candle is always lit during baptism ceremonies. The Paschal Candle represents the light of Christ, and it is from this flame that your baptismal candle will be lit.
The lit candle is presented to the baptized, held by the father, mother or a godparent during the remainder of the ceremony. The presentation of light represents how the newly baptized will become a son or daughter of “the light.” The flame symbolizes the flame the flame of faith which will burn through the life of your child.
We encourage the use of the baptismal candle at family birthday celebrations to celebrate the anniversary of being baptized into the Christian family.
White is a symbol of transition and change; purity and cleansing. It is a sign of innocence and the new life of resurrection. Its use in the baptism is a visible sign of putting on Christ, of taking on a new way of life.
Chrism means “to anoint.” This Oil of Chrism is olive oil, perfumed with special spices and blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday. In the baptismal ceremony it is used to anoint the head of the newly baptized. This oil is also used to anoint someone in the sacraments of Confirmation and Ordination. The sweet smell is also an outward indication to the world that something has changed about the baptized -- they have a "different scent" about them.
The presider may also choose to anoint the breastbone during the baptism ceremony with the Oil of Catechumens. This oil is a symbol of the power and strength which comes from Jesus.
The anointing of the heads of the newly baptized with chrism is accompanied by the celebrant saying, “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 a member of his body, sharing everlasting life."