Can a deacon baptize at the vigil?

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul TurnerLeave a Comment

Q:  One of our pastors has been very ill, in the hospital, for the past month or so. He is just now recovering, and is planning to celebrate the Easter Vigil for his parish community. He would like to know if it would be allowed for one of his deacons to baptize the elect, and then HE (the pastor) will confirm those folks immediately at the same liturgy. It is an issue of conserving his energy, I believe.

Is this allowed? I confess I’m very unsure, but I am assuming it is NOT.  Your assistance is much appreciated.

A:  The bishop has the authority to delegate the priest to confirm those whom the deacon baptizes.  The priest raising the question has to obtain permission from the bishop to proceed.

Q:  Part of my confusion arises from the fact that a priest who is entrusted to receive into full communion an already-baptized Christian has the faculty of confirming, so that would seem to imply that the tie between baptism and confirmation is not so much “I can’t confirm if I don’t baptize” as it is “I MUST confirm if I DO baptize.” See what I mean? How wrong is that thinking, if you have time to tell me? If not, many blessings in this season!

A:  That’s a good insight. I think it’s spot on.

Another colleague has added an important point that the deacon would also need permission to baptize the adult.  I did not realize this.


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