A prayer service for youth or adults
Baptism is about belonging, new life, and promises. It is the beginning of our life in Christ and in the Church. It is the first sacrament we receive, the first outward sign of grace. By it, we are claimed and named for Christ. We become a part of the Church. Celebrate that belonging.
I like to use holy water because it reminds us that the Church uses very ordinary things for the sacraments. The water reminds us of life, of cleansing, of refreshment, and of our Baptism. It is something people can use in their own homes. You can encourage that by suggesting that they fill an empty bottle with the holy water from the font when they or their child are baptized. If possible, have empty bottles available for people to take if they’d like.
This prayer service would be appropriate for youth or adults preparing to be baptized as well as parents and godparents in a Baptism class preparing for their child to be baptized.
Set up the environment
Have a table covered with a white cloth, a bowl of holy water, a Bible open to the Scripture, a candle, or a small plant or flowers.
Father, in Baptism we become a part of your Church, are washed clean of all sin, and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are given grace and are known by all as your sons and daughters. Forever marked with the Sign of the Cross, we are yours always. Help us, Lord, to live out our Baptism in the world. Amen.
This passage focuses on the power of Baptism to change us. We die with Christ and then are raised with him through the waters of Baptism and the gift of faith.
What words describing Baptism resonate with you and why? What do we gain when we are baptized according to this passage? Of all those things we are given, what is most important to you?
Ask for a gift
Introduce the activity: Just as we are given the gift of new life in Christ at Baptism, God wants to give us many gifts to help us grow into holy people. He is our Father, and as his son or daughter, we can ask him for what we need. The holy water reminds us of our
As you play one of the songs, have each person come forward one at a time and silently ask God for a gift. When they are done, they can bless themselves with the holy water. You could also have each person write their intention on a slip of paper and put it in a basket.
The gift can be something for themselves, such as more faith or the grace to love others. It can be a prayer intention for someone they love who is sick or in need. For parents and godparents, it can be for the child to be baptized or something they need to help raise the child in the faith.
Response: We pray to the Lord.
For all those who are to be baptized, that they may know the fullness of the new life they are going to enter. Let us pray to the Lord. ℟
For parents and godparents, may they be examples of faith as they guide their children and godchildren. Let us pray to the Lord. ℟
For all baptized people, give them the courage to live out their baptismal call of priest, prophet, and king. Let us pray to the Lord. ℟
For people who have not been baptized, may our witness draw them to Christ and his Church. Let us pray to the Lord. ℟
Ask if people have any intentions they would like to express.
For all the gifts we have asked for, Lord, both spoken and unspoken, may they be offered to us according to your holy will. Let us pray to the Lord. ℟
Pray the Our Father.
Lord God, you have given us the sacrament of Baptism as the starting point of our walk with you. Help us to always be faithful and true to the call to holiness it places in our souls. Remind us each time we bless ourselves with holy water that you are present in us. We ask you to guide us, strengthen us, and be with us today and always. In your Son’s name. Amen.
Deanna Bartalini, MEd and MPA, is a writer, speaker, and catechist serving on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach, Florida. She is the author of Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women: Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life (Our Sunday Visitor). Find more at DeannaBartalini.com.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, September 2019.