Baptisms during Lent?

Does anyone know if baptisms of babies are allowed during Lent? I realize that in the case of emergency, baptisms are allowed and encouraged at any time, but my pastor says that it is the Church’s practice not to baptise during Lent. Now this must refer primarily to babies because any adults who desire to enter the Church would be going through the RCIA process and by Lent would be classified as a catechumen preparing for baptism at the Easter vigil.

Does anyone know of any early Church practice of delaying baptisms of new-born children during Lent until Easter?

Babies are not normally baptized during either the Lenten or Advent seasons. Whether this is by law or custom I really can’t say. As to the baptism of the elect at the easter Vigil, I think, I’m not sure, that Lent actually ends on Wednesday Night prior to Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday for us old timers, when the Easter Tridum begins. Their baptisms would thus technically outside of the Lenten season.

I would imagine that babies would not be baptized during Lent primarily to the penitentional natutre of the season. Just a guess though.

I asked my pastor this question a while back because I always thought that Baptisms and Weddings could not be celebrated during Lent. He said no that’s not true, it’s just that celebration of these sacraments should not overpower the tone of the season. (No flowers decorating the altar at the wedding for example). The Church I went to confession at on Saturday just finished celebrating a wedding.

However these sacraments cannot be celebrated on the first two days of the Paschal Triduum. Some one asked a question about when Lent ends, it ends at Sunset on Maundy Thursday and the Paschal Triduum begins with the Mass of Lord’s Supper at that time. I also know that funeral Masses cannot be celebrated during the Paschal Triduum.

I think that the protocol of delaying baptism for infants until the end of lent is the new church practice, not the reverse.

I’d like to know when it came about, as it seems different that what I knew as a kid.

Went to a baptism on Sunday, presided by a Bishop. Relax.

My nephew was baptized a few years ago on Palm Sunday, because that happened to be the first Sunday of the month, when the parish typically celebrates baptisms.

Our parish doesn’t baptized during Lent (and always empties the Holy Water fonts). It never made sense to me…during a season when we call people to repent and take part in Confession, why would we deny this same grace to babies? It has always confused me.

The norm for adult Baptism is only at the Eastern Vigil. Any type of celebration is eliminated during Lent and Advent. Which includes Marriages and Baptisms. It is a Liturgical rule. That is not to say that a Marriage because of necessity cannot take place it just won’t be in the church and will be very minimal. A child could be Baptized but not at Mass maybe on a Saturday morning with parents and Godparents only if really necessary. Lent ends in the afternoon of Holy Thursday, but the Triduum is an even more solemn time, when even Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday until sundown Holy Saturday.

Hi Bro Rich

Can you tell me where the liturgical rule is state? I refer to the one you mentioned about not celebrating baptisms or marriages during Lent and Advent? I have a lot of people in my parish asking me about this because our new pastor has brought in these “changes”. He has also removed the holy water from the fonts. Any thoughts about this too? I am interested in the theology behind it and whether or not it is an ancient practice that is being reinstated.


No sacramentals are not to be taken away from the faihful during Lent. (Holy Water is a sacramental)

I’m going to guess that where I read it was in the introduction section of the Rite for Baptism and the Rite of Marriage. I’ll look when I return tonight.

My sister is going to be married during Lent. It will be a subdued ceremony. There will be no Mass because her finance is non-Catholic.

I think the issue with baptisms isn’t so much that they are not allowed as it is that the Easter season seems so much more appropriate that some parishes suggest that people wait for healthy babies.

Well that is not where it was. Maybe it’s in the Norms for Baptism from the USCCB. It may be in the Norms for the Liturgical calendar and seasons!

When I had my youngest 2 baptized, it was during the Easter Vigil. I had asked my pastor to baptize them during lent for me as a favor because they don’t do this normally during lent either, but one of the kids was receiving First Eucharist a week after Easter. I seem to remember asking why they couldn’t be baptized a few weeks earlier during lent and being told that they don’t do weddings or Baptisms during Lent because of the celebratory nature of these sacraments and the solemnity of the season. In my parish we do the Adult and infant baptisms at the Easter Vigil if parents want it done then.

Michelle Arnold dealt with this question in the Ask the Apologists forum here:

Essentially, her answer was that there are no restrictions on baptizing during Lent.

For some parishes, local custom will hold that the preference be to not baptize during Lent.

That being said, it is wholly impossible to see how you would ever say “no baptisms”, particularly in emergency situations.

I think it’s more of wanting to have people see Baptism as one of the “Easter sacraments”…something that the tone of Lent doesn’t necessairly fit.