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The sacrament by which water and the Word of God cleanse a person of all sin, both original and actual, and all temporal punishment, and sanctify the person in Christ for everlasting life.
Baptism, like Confirmation and Holy Orders, places an indelible character or mark on the human soul that God can see, which remains visible for all eternity.
The celebrant, usually a priest or deacon, baptizes a person by immersing the recipient in water, or pouring or sprinkling water over the recipient, three times while saying, “Name, I baptize you in the name of the Father [water], and of the Son [water], and of the Holy Spirit [water].”
Then the celebrant makes the Sign of the Cross on the person’s forehead with chrism, which signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, anointed by the Holy Spirit and incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.
The matter of Baptism is natural water and chrism. The recipient may be immersed in the water, or the water may be poured or sprinkled on the recipient.
The form of Baptism is particularly the words of the essential rite pronounced by the celebrant: “Name, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit as he applies the water to the recipient.”
Baptism is a sacrament of the dead, because it confers sanctifying grace even when we are in a state of mortal sin.
Baptism is one of the three sacraments of initiation. The other two are Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1213-1284
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
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