Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
The origin and foundation of Christian Baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters...Jesus' immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God's will. Jesus did not need to be baptized...however, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin -- Original and actual -- and begin to live a new life with God. --United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, pps. 183 - 18
Celebrating the Embrace of God
For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church’s way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God. Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God.
”Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3,5
Baptism marks the entry of the believer into the Christian community. Along with Confirmation and Eucharist, it is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, giving access to the full sacramental life of the Church. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and joined with Christ, sharing in His divinity and destined for eternal life. Baptism leaves us permanently changed, no longer the person we once were, but a new person, dying to death and sin, and rising to new life in Christ. In the words of St. Paul, "We were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so too may we live a new life." (Romans 6:4).
The rite consists of pouring water over the head while saying the Trinitarian formula. Anyone can baptize in an emergency, although the usual minister of the sacrament is a priest or deacon. Usually the rite includes anointing the forehead with holy oil to indicate that, even as Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so does the candidate now share in His everlasting life, participating in His glory as a member of His body. The newly baptized then receives a white garment and a candle lit from the paschal candle. Like Christ, who is the light of the world, the newly baptized Christian carries the light of Christ out into the world.