ASK FATHER: Are baptisms really forbidden during Lent?

From a reader…


I was reading the bulletin of my former parish recently and noticed they are no longer doing baptisms during Lent. I know this is a recent policy change – probably related to the hiring of a new sister to oversee such issues – because my daughter was baptized during Lent at this parish just a few years ago. I can think of a dozen reasons why this is a bad policy on its face, but is denying baptisms during Lent permissible? Thank you.


There is absolutely no prohibition of baptisms taking place during the season of Lent in the universal law. Baptisms may not take place from Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil, but that small window of exclusion seems reasonable. In addition, the sacrament of baptism is most fittingly celebrated at the Easter Vigil and during the Easter season.

I could see, towards the end of the Lenten season, encouraging families to wait until Easter to have little Athanasius or Sexburga baptized at Easter (the Easter Vigil might be a bit too much of an ordeal to expect an infant and her sleep-deprived parents to endure), and I can see not having a large, public baptismal ceremony with multiple children being baptized during the penitential season of Lent. But hopefully, the parish in question, even if they don’t advertise regular baptisms during Lent, is not prohibiting baptism during Lent. That’s just foolish.


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  1. Re the Holy Thursday to Easter Vigil prohibition on baptisms: that doesn’t apply in cases where there is a danger of death, right?

  2. sewsnow says:

    When we did Baptism prep for our youngest, we were told that the parish didn’t allow Baptisms during Lent. I spoke with the pastor directly and found that the parish didn’t allow Baptism at Mass during Lent, but we were able to have the Baptism outside of Mass.

  3. moon1234 says:

    Since baptism is required for salvation, purposely putting it off would seem to be a lack of charity towards the soul in question.

    If “I” was the parent of such a child and our parish refused baptism for said child until some arbitrary date, I as the parent would immediately baptize the child myself using the proper form. If the parish wants to repeat the sacrament later, then they could do that, but I personally would not wait.

    Your only one car crash, violent attack, etc. away from no longer being alive on this earth. Putting off a five minute sacrament that provides everlasting life makes zero sense.

  4. moon1234 says:

    As a follow-up to my post above it looks like Pope Francis stated Baptism is never to be refused to those who asked no matter the time of year:

  5. Blackfriar says:

    1. “Baptisms may not take place from Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil…” except, of course, in an emergency.

    2. It is hard to square a local refusal to celebrate Baptism in Lent with the injunction of Canon 867 §1. “Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it.” Since Lent lasts about six weeks, a child born, say, on the weekend before Ash Wednesday would have to wait nearly two months to be baptised. It would seem impossible for the parents to fulfil the obligation in this canon, if baptism is refused in Lent.

  6. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    For the record, Pope Benedict was baptized on Holy Saturday 1927, having been born earlier that day.

  7. Kmom says:

    Thank you, Fr. Ferguson, for acknowledging that parents are sleep-deprived! Goodness, we’ve got 7 children 12 and under. I’m just. Dang. Tired.

    Also, we had a priest refuse to baptize our last child in the EF. (Even though we bought Angelus Press booklets for him and anyone else who wanted one.) Thankfully a different priest in our diocese did it for us. And during Lent too.

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