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Jan. 29, 2020

COLTON – Most of us cannot recall our Baptisms. Most Catholics received the sacrament as infants or young children. The Rite Catholic clergy use when baptizing is about to change. That brought roughly 60 priests and deacons from across the Diocese to St. Patrick’s in Colton, New York, January 20, 2020 to hear about those changes.

Father Bryan D. Stitt, director of the diocesan Office of Worship, organized the session.

“I thought it would be best to make the most of this liturgical development by doing three things,” Father Stitt said. “First, I wanted to come together for prayer and fellowship. Second, I wanted a chance for us to share some of the best practices that are going on in our own parishes. And finally, I wanted us to get the new books in our hands to familiarize ourselves with the richness of the Order of Baptism.”

Father Stitt noted there are only a few changes.

“For most people in the pews, the changes will not be noticeable,” he said. “There are some slight changes in wording that better align with the Roman Missal, there is a beautiful new suggested welcome for the beginning of the sacrament, and there is a great clarification of how to offer a Baptism during a Sunday Mass – something that the Church strongly encourages.”

The work session gave clergy an opportunity to share their best practices with the group. Suggestions about baptism preparation and follow-up; the use of video aids in parish preparation programs, pre-scheduled preparation programs versus “as needed” and the distribution of responsibilities among clergy in given parishes were among the topics discussed.

Father Stitt said he was pleased with the session.

“It was a great day,” he said. “We were blessed with a crisp winter day, good home cooking from the St. Patrick’s Altar Rosary society, the chance to reconnect with clergy from around the diocese, and the chance to gain some insights into the life of Baptism.”

The 2nd edition of the Ordo Baptismi parvulorum (Order of Baptism of Children) was approved for use in 1969 in the original Latin form. Pope Paul VI approved the text. The Roman Ritual was revised in order that it might be “adapted to the actual condition of children” and that the role and responsibilities of parents and godparents might be more clearly expressed. It has taken all this time to have the original Latin translated for use in English speaking countries and then receive all the necessary attention and approvals required. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the text in 2017. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments gave its approval on April 11, 2019. “The rite may be used in the Liturgy as of February 2, 2020.”

“It took about 46 years for this translation to receive final approval,” Father Stitt told the group. After the meeting Father told the North Country Catholic, “Many of us left looking forward to the next time we could have a day like this. I don’t think we should wait 46 years.”

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