Baptism Booklet for the Extraordinary Form

The initial rites “outside the church”, as shown in a recent baptism I celebrated in my parish.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI clarified that the older liturgical books (those approved and in use as of 1962) were never abrogated and thus could still be used. Therefore, since then, without there any longer being doubt or other hoops to jump through (such as requesting an indult), it has been possible for any priest to celebrate the sacraments using those ritual books.

Learning and celebrating what is now called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass — also known as the usus antiquior (the “older use”) — has been a great grace for me and an enrichment to my priestly spirituality and understanding. And in the past couple of years, more and more families have requested that I celebrate their child’s baptism in the Extraordinary Form as well. This has also been wonderful.

Since baptism in the EF is a fair bit different than the newer form that most of us are accustomed to, I set out to find some sort of participation guide for the parents, godparents, and guests to follow along with. There are, of course, some available for purchase. I only found a couple for free, one of which I initially used. But I found it less than ideal for various reasons.

One of the peculiarities of the EF baptism rite is that while all the prayers are given in Latin, the priest is actually permitted to do quite a lot of them in English (using, of course, an approved translation). There seems to be some disagreement over exactly which prayers must be in Latin, but a safe rule to follow is that any prayer that involves an exorcism — as well as the sacramental formula itself (I baptize you…) and the anointings — should be in Latin, while the rest may be in English.

Therefore, I set out to make a participation guide that contains only the essential: the prayers only in English when the priest himself will be praying in English, and then side-by-side Latin and English when the priest will be praying in Latin. I’m happy to share this guide here, so that any priest may print and provide it to his parishioners whenever he celebrates baptism in the EF.

It may, of course, be helpful also for those families who are considering whether they should have their newest child baptized in this wonderful form — or whether they shouldn’t just stick with the newer form (perhaps, in which the older children had been baptized). Alas, I’ve had many families say, “I wish my other children were baptized in this form! — I wish I had been baptized in this form!”, once they see it. The prayers are powerful. I wish I could go back and be baptized this way also!

I have made PDFs in two formats, to accommodate different types of printers. Either way, it is meant to be printed on two 8.5×11″ sheets of paper and folded and stapled.

Here is the booklet in a “one-up” format (5.5×8.5″ pages) — usually what is needed for fancy copy machines that also fold and staple. This file format is also good for personal study/reading, as the pages are sequential.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD ONE-UP FORMAT

And here is the booklet formatted for booklet printing. Most duplex printers that do NOT fold and staple require this format. Some printers that are also capable of folding and stapling can work with this format. I suspect those who know how to use those settings will know pretty quickly which format they need.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD BOOKLET FORMAT

As far as ritual books go, there is of course the three-volume Weller Ritual, sold by Preserving Christian Publications, one volume of which has baptism and other sacraments (the other volumes deal with blessings, exorcisms, processions, etc.). I use this set often, although the English translations of things like blessings I find to be less than ideal.

A very fine book to have, which includes baptism as well as many blessings, is the New Sanctuary Manual. It helpfully includes baptism in a few different forms (one child, multiple children, etc.) so that the celebrant doesn’t have to figure out how to adjust the Latin from singular to plural. It seems to be out of print at present, but I would bookmark it and keep checking back; it could be that they just haven’t gotten a new printing completed but will have it again soon.

Many priests have acquired an old Collectio Rituum or similar for these purposes as well. I do hope that some publisher will reprint a Collectio, as they are useful and now a rare bird.

In any case, I hope that this participation resource that I have made will help. If anyone finds any errors or has any questions, you can contact me through the form on the “About” page of the blog.

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