The celebration of the sacrament of baptism underwent a major change in the years after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was revised to take into account the situation of the contemporary world by incorporating insights from the earliest centuries of the Church. The Rite of Baptism for Children was renewed to take into account the role of parents and godparents in a more direct way.
These two situations—the initiation of adults who profess their own faith and the baptism of children whose faith is professed for them—are the object of this book. The symbols and actions of the rites together with the words of Scripture and prayer are explored to answer the question: How do these celebrations reveal a theology of initiation and baptism for today’s Catholic community?
Michael G. Witczak, SLD, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and an assistant professor in liturgical studies at The Catholic University of America. His writings have appeared in Theological Studies, Ecclesia Orans, and Liturgical Ministry.
This book will serve as a model for mystagogical catechesis, providing sound theology of Baptism and a point of departure for catechesis with catechumens or parents.
[The Sacrament of Baptism is] a welcome resource for adult learners working in parish and diocesan ministry as well as for aspirants to ordination as permanent deacons. No Catholic parish with a vital process in place for the `making' of new Christians will want to be without this book.
This book is a must-have, a wise and helpful primer that delves seriously into the meaning of our first and most important sacrament of the church.
It was a pleasure to read this careful structural analysis of the rites of Baptism. Witczak's study is clear, comprehensive, insightful, and on the mark. It will be useful to students, teachers, and anyone who seeks to understand the meaning of baptism in the Catholic Church today.
Author and educator
Immersing his reader in ritual, word, and reflection, Michael G. Witczak surveys the practice and theology of baptism in the Roman Catholic Church. Witczak has condensed and arranged an immense array of literature to make the reader's enjoyment effortless. For a scholarly and readable investigation into the complexities of the baptismal liturgy, here you will find light and life.
Rev. Paul Turner
Pastor, St. Munchin Catholic Church