The Sign of the Cross is traced on the forehead of the one being baptized. This ritual action expresses that the mystery of the cross is at the heart of our faith.
The immersion in water (or pouring on of water) of the one being baptized reminds us that we die with Jesus to conquer sin and rise with him so we might enter into new life. In this action we are reminded of how Moses led the Hebrews in their escape from Egypt and how he parted the waters of the Red Sea as the gateway to liberation, away from slavery and into the Promised Land. We also recall Jesus’ death and resurrection, which free us from sin and bring us into a new way of living. Many new or remodeled churches have the baptismal font near the main entrance to symbolize that we all enter the Church through the waters of baptism.
The words of baptism, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” are spoken while the water is poured or the one to be baptized is immersed. These words reveal that God in the Trinity is both the source of life and our life’s goal.
The newly baptized is anointed with sacred oil to signify that the Holy Spirit dwells within the heart of this new Christian. It’s also a sign of being anointed to a mission to live and love as Jesus lived.
A white garment reflects that in baptism we “put on Christ,” taking our new and truest identity as a son or daughter of God.
A baptismal candle, lit from the Easter candle, represents the one true light of Christ, a light to guide the new believer throughout his or her life.
Adapted from Loyola Press