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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Level 1 Catechist Training at Saint Patrick - Saint Anthony Church
The Light & the White Garment
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by Nancy Ahrens

Subject:  Baptism


Title:       Baptism I – The Light and White Garment


Age:         3+ (suggested group no more than 3 three year olds, 4 four year olds, or 5 five year olds, or less depending on the needs of the children)


Liturgical Time:  Easter (first presentation after the Liturgy of Light)



Sources:   RPC,  p. 98-104, 115-117;  GS&C,  Ch. 8; Rite of Baptism ; Living Liturgy, p. 35-71, p. 127-128; CCC, p. 628, 691, 694, 698, 1213-1284; MM, p. 135-150.


Doctrinal Points:

  • The risen light of Christ is eternal, is stronger than death, is available to everyone, and overcomes the darkness.
  • Through Baptism, we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Baptism is one of three sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
  • Reading the signs used in Baptism helps us enter more deeply into the sacrament:  the paschal candle as the light of Christ; the personal candle as being personally enlightened by Christ; the white garment as purity


Direct Aims:

  • To proclaim that through the signs of the Light and White Garment, we receive Jesus’ light and life at baptism.


Indirect Aims:

  • To encourage greater participation in liturgy (GPL)
  • To prepare for future Baptism presentations
  • To lift up the signs of the light and white garment
  • The increase the (child’s) sense of belonging and being called
  • To aid in personal prayer
  • To expand the ability to read and experience liturgical signs
  • To expand on the image of Christ as light



  • A prepared Baptism area with:

-         a child-height table with a storage drawer to hold future additions of bible and font

-         a Paschal candle in a lovely secure holder

-         an individual candle and holder for each child  (have no more than the maximum number of children that can safely work together) to be kept in a separate drawer

-         a model white garment

-         a beautifully decorated board resting on back of table (perhaps depicting a stained glass window or the walls of the church in the Baptism area)

-         a crucifix or San Damiano cross either on the wall nearby, or standing on the baptism table

-         Matches, snuffer and tray to hold spent matches

-         Baptism pasting box to include a white garment with a red cross on the front, a Paschal candle (can be decorated or left plain so child can decorate), small candle, flames for candles,  paper to paste them to, and a laminated control chart

-         Tracing packet in a white folder

-         A large control chart mounted on the wall in the Baptism area containing labeled pictures of all the articles of baptism


Preparation: anyone with long hair should have it tied back for safety – have a supply of ponytail holders available.




        This is our baptism corner. Do you remember what season we’re in? It’s the Easter season and it will be for a really long time.

        In Easter we celebrate that when Jesus died he rose. There is something here in our baptism corner it helps us to know that in a really big way.

        Do you know what this is. It’s our Paschal candle sometimes we call it our Easter candle. It was carried in procession during the Easter Vigil and we carried it during our Liturgy of Light. It went before us lighting our way.  It’s also lit at every mass during Easter. Every time you go to mass in Easter you will see the Paschal candle lit. That light of the Paschal candle can help us remember the words we heard long, long time ago in Advent.  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” There was a time when that light came into the world when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.




        Light the Paschal candle. So Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the light came into the world and people wanted to be near that light.

        He grew into manhood and he told them about the kingdom of God and he told them about being the Good Shepherd. He said I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life for my sheep. There came a day when that happened, the day that Jesus died on the cross when that happened it seemed that the light had gone out of the world.

        Snuff out the paschal candle.

        But we know that’s not the end of the story. Three days later Jesus rose to a new life. With a new light that will never ever go out.

        Light the Paschal candle. This risen light of Jesus is stronger than death  and it will never ever go out. It was given to everyone. It was given to you and it was given to me. The day that we were baptized this light came to us. We are going to share some of that light.

        Get the matches out. Say, I am going to light your candle and I am going to give it to you and then you can put it on the table.

        Light their candle from the Paschal candle. As you hand them their candle say (with eye contact), “(the child’s name) the risen light of Jesus has come to you.” You can put it on the table. (allow some time for enjoyment of the light.)

        When you were baptized, you were clothed in a white garment. People could see even on the outside of you that you were filled with light. Take the white garment out. “You were covered with light even on the outside.” Lay the garment on the baptism table. (continue to enjoy the light together.)

        Ask children what song they would like to sing. “This little light of mine.” Ask them to snuff out their candle.

        Restore the materials

        Invite the children to work


Children’s Work with the Materials:

  • Work with the materials by lighting the paschal candle and the child’s personal candle, and meditating on the light together, allowing for enjoyment of simply being near the light. Some possible meditative questions; What do you suppose the risen light is like? How is it different from the light of the sun? When candles are snuffed is this Light gone from the world? From our atrium? Where is it still shining? Generally when a child’s personal candle is snuffed out, it is not lit again for the same child during that day.
  • Singing
  • Pasting Box
  • Tracing Packet
  • Original art work



Children’s Responses (notable things the children say or do):







CGS Level 1 Catechist Training