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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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BAPTISMAL VOWS

Profession of the Christian faith by an adult candidate for baptism or by the sponsor in the name of the infant to be baptized. The solemn renewal of these promises is a widespread act of piety usually at the close of a mission or retreat or when receiving First Communion or the sacrament of confirmation. It is a part of the Eucharistic liturgy at the Easter Vigil and on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

BAPTISMAL WATER. The water used for the administration of the sacrament of baptism. For the valid conferral of baptism any ordinary natural water may be used. But for licit administration of solemn baptism, the water should be ritually blessed. Normally, the water is blessed for this purpose during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. But it may be blessed at each baptism by the one who confers the sacrament. Three ritual blessings of the water are provided by the Roman ritual, two of which include a symbolic touching of the water by the priest and alternate responses by the people.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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