Life’s Big Events


Holy Baptism is the sacramental rite of full initiation, by way of water and the Holy Spirit, into membership in the Christian Church. Baptisms take place in the context of the Eucharist at any Sunday or feast day of the year. We do baptisms at the Cathedral at the Great Vigil of Easter, the Second Sunday of Easter, Pentecost, All Saints’ Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord.

At the service, all the members of the congregation renew their own baptismal vows and welcome the newly baptized into the community of faith. If the baptized person is too young to make the baptismal promises, they are made in the name of the child by sponsors, the child’s parents and godparents. Baptism may take place by immersion or by pouring water over the head of the baptized (which is our custom at the Cathedral), and, in the Anglican tradition, is accompanied by the celebrant making the sign of the cross on the forehead of the baptized, often anointing with the oil of chrism (olive oil that has been blessed by the Bishop) at the same time.

Confirmation and Reception

Confirmation is a post-baptismal rite of mature commitment to Christ through prayers, the renewal of baptismal vows, and the laying on of hands by a bishop. If you have already been confirmed in another tradition you may be Received in the Episcopal Church in a similar fashion. Confirmation and Reception are preceded by a period of prayer, study, and instruction. At the Cathedral, there is an annual gathering called “Exploring our Faith” during the season of Lent. The class is open to all but is particularly helpful for adults who wish to be baptized, confirmed, or received.

Youth at the Cathedral do their education for confirmation during their junior year in High School as part of the YAC (Young Adults in Church) curriculum. Confirmations take place at the Easter Vigil and during an official visitation by one of the bishops.

Weddings at the Cathedral

Congratulations on your engagement! We know this is a very exciting time for you. Thank you for considering the Cathedral of the Incarnation for your celebration of marriage.

The Cathedral of the Incarnation is a vibrant parish community in the heart of Baltimore. The Cathedral is the part of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Maryland. We are proud to be a very inclusive community – whether you have come from a different denomination, different faith tradition, are a same-sex couple, or you are exploring your faith – we welcome you. And, we welcome couples from all faiths and traditions to be married at the Cathedral.

General Guidelines:

  1. At least one person must be a baptized Christian. We realize that many couples often represent more than one faith tradition. We want to honor the faith traditions you have come from, but request that at least one in the couple has been baptized.
  2. The Cathedral welcomes clergy of other Christian denominations and faith traditions to officiate at weddings with the prior approval of our Dean. If couples plan to celebrate the Eucharist during the service, one of the Cathedral clergy will officiate or co-officiate the wedding using the service from the Book of Common Prayer. All Episcopal clergy will be responsible for obtaining all marital judgments from the Bishop of Maryland and fulfilling all legal and canonical requirements. Clergy of other denominations will be responsible for obtaining proper permissions within their religious institution.
  3. If you do not know a pastor or priest who can perform your wedding, a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland can officiate the service with appropriate notice.
  4. All wedding plans and preparations will be made under the direction of the Cathedral Wedding Coordinator.
  5. All musical arrangements are made under the direction of the Canon for Music and Worship, whether or not he will be the organist of the wedding.
  6. A wedding program listing the order of service and the participants may be used. The bride and groom are responsible for its preparation and duplication. A copy of the wedding program will be provided to the wedding coordinator before the wedding rehearsal.
  7. The Cathedral Wedding Coordinator will be the main contact for all the wedding service preparations. She will be the person responsible for the wedding rehearsal and will be present on the day of the wedding.

Premarital Counseling Requirement

Couples being married in the Episcopal tradition must attend premarital counseling sessions. There are many counselors who provide this service and we will be happy to give you some suggestions. Couples from other traditions will receive direction from their officiating minister.


The burial office is an Easter liturgy. Episcopalians believe that when we die, God will raise us from death in the fullness of our being and that we will live with Christ in the communion of the saints. We believe in everlasting life, a new existence, in which we will be united with all the people of God, in the joy of fully knowing and loving God and each other. Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God.

The funeral rite for burial of a baptized Christian is a service including anthems, psalms, scripture readings, and prayers, for which the Book of Common Prayer provides both traditional and contemporary liturgies. This rite may serve as the liturgy of the word at a Requiem Eucharist. When there is communion at the Burial of the Dead, the commendation and the committal follow the communion of the people and the post-communion prayer. The burial rites also include the Apostles’ Creed, a special form of the prayers of the people, forms for the consecration of the grave, and additional prayers that may be added after the Lord’s Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer also provides an Order for Burial, which permits the composition of a rite to suit particular circumstances “when, for pastoral considerations, neither of the burial rites in this Book is deemed appropriate” (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 506-507), as well as appropriate texts for the burial of a person who was not a baptized Christian or who rejected the Christian faith.

When planning a funeral at the Cathedral, the family and loved ones will meet with one of the clergy to discuss the outline and content of the service.

The Columbarium

The Cathedral has perhaps the most beautiful columbarium in the State of Maryland. Designed by Tom Gamper, it has won a National Award from one of the committees of the American Institute of Architects, and has made an unused portion of the Cathedral into a very sacred space. Located off of the Peace Chapel, it now has been the site of many interments.

92 of the 144 niches in the Columbarium have been sold, with just 52 available (at this writing). The current price for a niche, which can contain up to two urns, is $1,500. Five more niches have been sold in this past year.

The Columbarium Committee feels that the Columbarium, like the Peace Chapel, is a wonderful asset to the Cathedral, both now and in the future. We are glad that there are yet niches available for members of the Cathedral and the Diocese. The Columbarium is open and available to all our members, and to others in the Diocese.