Expert Answer Forum
Baptism in the Cottage QUESTION from Rev Mr. Larry Lottier April 30, 2000 I have been asked to baptize an infant at the family's cottage. It is my understanding that, unless in case of necessity, baptism is to be in the church or oratory. Is their any reason why this could be done - a priest baptized the first child at the cottage.
I am inclined to decline the invitation but would like to be on solid liturgical, charitable ground when I do so.
Thanks and blessings on you and your work,
Deacon Larry Lottier
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 30, 2000 Dear Deacon Lottier,
Thanks for you question.
The Rite of Baptism for Children is the liturgical book that regulates the celebration of this Sacrament. I put the pertinent parts in bold italic print.
Chapter III. Time and Place for the Baptism of Children.
8. As for the time of baptism, the first consideration is the welfare of the child, that it may not be deprived of the benefit of the sacrament; then the health of the mother must be considered, so that, if at all possible, she too may be present. Then, as long as they do not interfere with the greater good of the child, there are pastoral considerations, such as allowing sufficient time to prepare the parents and to plan the actual celebration in order to bring out its true character effectively. Accordingly: 1. If the child is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without delay, in the manner laid down in no. 21. 2. In other cases, as soon as possible - if need be, even before the child is born, the parents should be in touch with the parish priest (pastor) concerning the baptism, so that proper preparation may be made for the celebration.
3. An infant should be baptized within the first weeks after birth. The conference of bishops may, for sufficiently serious pastoral reasons, determine a longer interval of time between birth and baptism.
4. When the parents are not yet prepared to profess the faith or to undertake the duty of bringing up their children as Christians, it is for the parish priest (pastor), keeping in mind whatever regulations may have been laid down by the conference of bishops, to determine the time for the baptism of infants.
9. To bring out the paschal character of baptism, it is recommended that the sacrament be celebrated during the Easter Vigil or on Sunday, when the Church commemorates the Lord's resurrection. On Sunday, baptism may be celebrated even during Mass, so that the entire community may be present and the relationship between baptism and eucharist may be clearly seen; but this should not be done too often. Regulations for the celebration of baptism during the Easter Vigil or at Mass on Sunday will be set out later.
10. So that baptism may clearly appear as the sacrament of the Church's faith and of incorporation into the people of God, it should normally be celebrated in the parish church, which must have a baptismal font.
11. After consulting the local parish priest (pastor), the bishop may permit or direct that a baptismal font be placed in another church or public oratory within the parish boundaries. In these places, too, the right to celebrate baptism belongs ordinarily to the parish priest (pastor).
12. Except in case of danger of death, baptism should not be celebrated in private homes.
13. Unless the bishop decides otherwise (see no. 11), baptism should not be celebrated in hospitals, except in cases of emergency or for some other compelling pastoral reason. But care should always be taken that the parish priest is notified and that the parents are suitably prepared beforehand.
14. While the liturgy of the word is being celebrated, it is desirable that children should be taken to some other place. But provision must be made for the mothers or godmothers to attend the liturgy of the word; the children should therefore be entrusted to the care of other women.
I hope this helps you.
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