Baptisms at the Vigil

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I had my deacon do the baptisms at the Easter Vigil, assisted by an acolyte, after I had received the catechumens’ affirmations of faith. Then I confirmed them. The rubrics say the priest does the baptisms. I considered that the deacon is an ordinary minister of baptism and that traditionally the deacons administered the sacrament of baptism at the vigil. Did I do wrong?  Is there a reason why the priest should administer the sacrament of baptism at the Vigil, except for following the letter of the rubric? I will follow the letter of the rubric if that is necessary.


A: Canon 883/2 authorizes the priest to confirm an adult whom he baptizes – not whom the deacon baptizes. Once you let the deacon baptize, you relinquished your faculty to confirm.

Related to this, liturgical law presumes that the presider of the ceremony will preside for all its major parts. Even at a wedding mass or a baptism mass, the liturgy presumes that the priest is the minister of the sacrament. If a deacon is to do it for whatever reason (relatives, language, catechesis), then he would be wise to secure permission from the bishop.