Enter the cathedral through the doors in front of you and pass through the short antechamber to enter the nave of the church. Walk towards the baptismal font. This is the place where the Sacrament of Baptism takes place. Dip your fingers into the holy water and bless yourself with the baptismal water. Remember that you were made into a child of God on the day of your Baptism.
The baptismal font is intentionally placed at the entrance of our cathedral because the Sacrament of Baptism, in addition to freeing the person from slavery to sin and the power of death, also makes the baptized a member of the church; it is the doorway to the church.
The font is also intentionally placed here, on a direct line with the altar in the sanctuary, because the sacrament is the doorway for those baptized to share in the celebration of Holy Mass and the other sacraments; they go through the waters of baptism to the altar.
In addition, it is placed near the door, not only to symbolize entrance into the church, but also to illustrate that those who are baptized are sent out, after gathering for worship at Holy Mass, to carry on the mission of Christ: learning Christ and teaching the Good News to others; and imitating Jesus’ example of self-giving service.
Above the baptismal font the Holy Spirit is depicted as described in Luke’s gospel: “and the Holy Spirit descended upon [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove” [3:22]. In the Sacrament of Baptism, the baptized is for the first time “anointed” with the Holy Spirit, receiving the free gift of grace: a share in the life of the Triune God through participation in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. The seven stars in the mural refer to the seven churches in the book of Revelation [1:4]. The seven stars can be found in three places in our cathedral's art: the murals above the baptismal font, in the dome and in the resurrection mural in the Paschal Mystery Shrine.
To the left and the right of the baptismal font are two rooms where the sacrament of reconciliation is celebrated. In these rooms, Jesus, through the instrument of his priests, forgives the sins of penitents. We recall the action and words in the upper room. “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:22-23)
To the right (west) of the baptismal font is the ambry, a repository for displaying the holy oils: Oil for the Sick; Oil for Catechumens; and the Sacred Chrism.
The Oil for the Sick is used to celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, praying that by the power of God the sick person will be restored to health and be given spiritual strength to bear a share in the cross of Christ.
The Oil for Catechumens is used to anoint people in preparation to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, praying that with God’s strength those anointed will all their lives be true to their Profession of Faith, regardless of their past sins, ridicule and opposition from others, or temptation from the devil.
The Sacred Chrism is used to anoint people, places or things to associate them with Christ, the title (in its Greek form, in Hebrew it is Messiah) given to Jesus: the anointed one. The walls of a new church are anointed with Sacred Chrism, as is the altar, and a person baptized, confirmed or consecrated as a priest or bishop in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.