Q: We celebrate infant baptisms both during and outside of Mass. The baptisms outside of Mass take place immediately following our masstimes. Much of the time the baptism family does not attend the Mass just prior to the baptism. But sometimes we do have the family at Mass. Several months ago we had a guest priest celebrate the baptisms of several babies from the same family. The whole family had also just attended the Mass (the priest was not the celebrant). Instead of beginning with the rite of reception followed by a liturgy of the Word, the priest went straight into the rites of reception and baptism at the font. Is this allowable to omit the Celebration of the Word? Are there any parameters I should be aware of?
A: The Order of Baptism without Mass should be treated as its own liturgical unit, even if people just participated in Mass. Mass has concluded. A new liturgy is beginning.
That said, the readings at a baptism outside of Mass seem to be optional (OBC 81: “if it seems appropriate”). Still, best practice would include a reading from Word of God whenever the faithful gather for worship.