Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Regina Apostolorum University.
Q: I would appreciate some clarification in a matter concerning baptism during Mass. I am a deacon in a small parish. I don’t get many baptisms — usually my grandchildren or if someone requests that I baptize their child. I have always believed that baptism during Mass is most appropriate. My current pastor believes that a deacon baptizing during Mass would constitute a change of presiders. I can find nothing to support this view. Can you enlighten me? — R.D., Grand Rapids, Michigan
A: While I am unaware of an official reply on the question of baptisms, there is a private response from the Holy See related to the question of deacons presiding at wedding Masses that can throw light on this theme. This 2007 letter, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, addresses the question from canonical and liturgical grounds, and these are the ones that concern us now.