Baptisms on Saturday Mornings?

My husband and I were looking at our parish website for baptism information (due next St Patty’s Day if all goes well!) and it said that baptisms are only on Saturdays between 10am and 12pm. This seemed odd to me, and also very disappointing. I guess I never noticed that we didn’t have baptisms during Mass…But it just seems to me that an important part of the sacrament is welcoming the child into the Church family, and that having a tiny ceremony with only whichever friends and relatives can afford to or care enough to travel across the country doesn’t have much of a joyous community feel. Our parish isn’t the most friendly, so we don’t know many people, but I was looking forward to everyone welcoming our future arrival in the way that it is normally done.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Is there anything I can do? I guess some people would love the more intimate setting, but to me it just feels isolating, like no one in the parish wants to be bothered with the small amount of extra time added to the Mass that it would take to welcome a child.

Baptism may be done in a Ritual Mass and not on Easter Vigil.

See this post:

I have to say that, from my experience, Baptism during Mass is the exception rather than the rule. I’ve lived in many parishes since we were a military family and my present parish is the first one in which Baptism is celebrated during Mass – and that only started about 15 years ago.

My three children were all baptized either immediately after Sunday morning Mass or in a Sunday afternoon celebration. With the oldest and the youngest they were the only child being baptized but the middle child was one of 6 being baptized that day.

I’m also on the Baptismal Preparation Team and most often when we prepare someone who will be having their child baptized outside our parish we find that those baptisms will be celebrated outside of Mass.

While baptisms may be done in the context of a parish’s Sunday Mass, I believe the rite anticipates that these should only be celebrated in this way infrequently. You’re right, of course, about the notion that your child will be welcomed into a parish community, but that doesn’t mean that every baptism should happen at Sunday Mass. Your pastor might have some reason that none do; perhaps you might ask him why this is the policy?

to me it just feels isolating, like no one in the parish wants to be bothered with the small amount of extra time added to the Mass that it would take to welcome a child.

It’s not so much the time, as it is that a baptism at Sunday Mass should mean that the homily is directed toward the baptism; that means that, for each baptism at Mass, we’re not hearing a homily about where the Scripture leads us as a parish community, but rather, a homily on baptism (perhaps with a bit of how that week’s readings direct our attention to baptism).

For me, what’s odd is that baptisms are only on Saturdays, not Sundays. Maybe that’s a local custom?

My norm has always been Baptism following the last Sunday Mass. Depending on the Sunday, there has been up to six or eight babies receiving Baptism. That can take 20-30 minutes. I found it especially meaningful that each family can be called up to the font and participate more closely and personally.

Extending an ordinary Mass that much can be extremely difficult, especially for families with young children.

Sometimes you just have to ask.

Our bulletin states that baptisms normally take place on Sunday afternoons, but I’ve seen them posted where they’ve taken place on Saturday and my oldest son was baptized at Mass. Our second son would have been baptized at Mass, but we requested the transitional deacon assigned to our parish baptize him because he was good friends with my husband, so a baptism at Mass would not have been as appropriate.

Our pastor is actually a big proponent of doing baptisms at Mass. It doesn’t prolong the Mass excessively in my experience - maybe five minutes if that, because some things are dropped because of the baptismal rites. Of course, if it’s not regularly done it may take longer simply because the priest or other people involved are not as familiar so it’s hard to “detour” away from what they know. I’ve never seen it, but our pastor has also mentioned that even weddings can take place at Mass. And of course during the year there are several RCIA rites or other events that “change up” the normal Mass sequence.

I find that calling the parish office and being very pleasant will go a long way. :slight_smile:

(And by the way, congratulations on your pregnancy!)

I forgot to mention that the Ritual Mass (in which baptism may occur) is prohibited on Sundays of Advent, Lent, Easter, on Solemnities, or days within the octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed (All Soul’s Day), on Ash Wednesday and on the weekdays of Holy Week.

Our parish is a baptizing at Mass kind of parish. We have a huge, (and I mean huge) font
and the entire congregation goes out in to the Narthex to witness the Baptism and then they make a big deal of the child literally “entering” the Church afterward. Happens right after the homily. The family and friends of the person are seated in the front pew so that Father can do the early parts of the Baptism up front…“what do you ask for your child?” etc. Many of the Spanish families prefer a Saturday private Baptism.
Both ways are fine. My children were Baptized at candlelight ceremonies in a different Catholic Church in the area years before I began working at this particular parish.

My old parish was enormous (7000+ families) and the deacons handled the baptisms for the most part. And, they had baptisms on Saturdays 2x per month.

This was primarily about logistics, they did a group of babies every other weekend. However, we still had baptisms during Mass, not infrequently.


Just tell your pastor you would prefer baptism during Mass and see what he says. The worst he can say is “no” and then you have the baptism on Saturday.

Well, on the flip side, I had several friends who wanted a private baptism, and my old parish didn’t do private baptisms (the Saturday baptisms were groups of babies and Sunday Mass was of course not private either). They actually had to go to another parish to accomplish their goal.

Moral of the story: there’s no pleasing everyone.

I requested that my children’s Baptism not be done during Mass. Saturday morning with family and close friends worked for me. And being Italian-Irish…the festivities began a few hours later. This is how it’s been done in our family …well since before me…mine was done in April of '58. I feel that Baptism during Mass is akin to a Protestant baby dedication service. I have been to those as well in my Baptist grandmother’s church.

Too often, two very important sacraments (baptism and Holy Matrimony) are turned into personal and family celebrations instead of celebrating the graces of God given us through Christ Jesus.

So, hopefully, whatever the liturgical setting for this important sacrament, you will first and foremost remember and celebrate Christ’s love for his bride.

Peace and all Good!

I think this post nails it. We often hope for or even demand the sacraments on our own terms.

I have no idea what the setting was for my baptism, but as the son of a Methodist mother and Episcopalian father who converted to Catholicism briefly before leaving the Church, my baptism in the Catholic church was unlikely by human terms. On the contrary, I believe God was working in my life at 29 days old.

You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ (2 Chronicles 20:17)

God told the Israelites over and over that he would save them and that all they had to do was stand back and watch. The Israelites kept acting on their own however, and they failed again and again. Sometimes all we have to do is stand by and watch and beautiful things happen.

Baptism is a miracle, the salvation of God happening right before our eyes. Our part is to stand there and watch and be in awe.


3 Sundays of the month Baptism is during one of the Masses (rotated so every parishioner can experience this if they wish, or go to another Mass if they wish), and on the 4th Sunday, Baptisms are 2pm. From what I have noticed, Baptism of infants during Mass is by far the most popular choice. I personally prefer it during Mass, as Baptism is not a private Sacrament, and it is important to welcome the babies into the community. We have a double baptismal font–a baptismal pool for immersions (usually the adults at the Easter Vigil) and then an upper font for infants and those adults who do not wish immersion. It seems that the parish tries it’s best to offer whatever options it can to accommodate people.

In ours Father invites all the parishioners to turn toward the back of the church and he does the welcoming at the door. Then the parents, godparents & child join the procession, parents slipping into the first pew when they get to it. Gloria is sung during the procession if on a Gloria-singing Sunday.

We also offer the parents the choice of Baptism by immersion or pouring. About 25% opt for immersion. We don’t have a fancy font for immersion, we simply use a plastic container inside a large willow basket. A traditional wooden font with shallow glass bowl for pouring. If there are several babies and one is by immersion, those being baptized by pouring are baptized first from the basket font. Font is in the sanctuary.

We also ask parents to not dress their children in their baptismal garments. Those are presented at the appropriate point in the ceremony and the parents step to the side of the sanctuary where tables are set up for changing the babies. They are dressed in their white garments while the community sings a baptismal hymn and then are brought back for the Presentation of the Light and the Ephpheta Rite.

Parents are given a choice of Saturday evening or Sunday morning Mass. Sometimes, because of work commitments it happens that Dad can’t be there on the weekend. In those cases we celebrate Baptism at a weekday Mass and a few of us make a point of being there so we can sing the Litany of the Saints and a baptismal hymn at the appropriate time. That way the family doesn’t feel they are getting short shrift in the liturgy department.

Sounds lovely. :slight_smile:

For infant baptism, during mass is the idea since the child is being baptised into the faith of the community - in a sense, the whole community stands in witness and support (this is in fact the crux of infant baptism). That said, there can be many reasons why a baptism can’t be or isn’t done during mass - such as the time not being suitable for godparents / family members, travel issues (such as where the child is baptised outside of the parents’ home parish), a desire to have a particular priest administer the sacrament, or out of a desire to not make non-Catholic family / friends feel excluded.

As other have said however, just because Saturday morning is the “usual” time that doesn’t mean that a baptism can’t be celebrated during mass.

It’s not required to do baptisms in a Sunday Mass. Many parishes do them privately.

Wow. I really like this. Your parish shows flexibility and respects the needs of the parents, as well as the traditions of the church. Thank you for sharing how you do baptisms.