Why does the priest put a bib on the baby during Baptism?

Steven PutmanQandA

Question: At my grandson’s Baptism, the priest put a bib on the baby. I do not remember seeing this before. Why is this done? Is it something new?

Answer: When an adult is baptized, there is a part in the ceremony when the newly baptized is vested in a white garment. It is symbolic of the changes that baptism brings in the life of the baptized as they are freed from the bonds of sin and brought into the saving grace of Christ. Realities that are so profound are symbolically presented so that we might better grasp and understand them.

Infants are often dressed in a baptismal dress, which is the baptismal garment. In some places, the bib is used as a kind of baptismal garment. At the place in the ceremony where the investiture takes place, the bib is used. Some are poncho-like and fit over the baby’s head. Others are simply placed on the baby’s chest. If the baby is dressed in a white garment, nothing else is needed. The prayer says it all: “See in your white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity … bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.” In baptism, we are given our purpose and goal in life as believers and this is symbolized by the white garment.