I have led a protected life. Until last night, I had never visited a Catholic mass. My nephew's son was being baptised, so I went and had a special seat up front (which is tough on a back-row baptist). The service was (I think) a normal service with a baptism at the end.
My overall impression of the service was that it was very structured. The feeling I got was much like I got at a service I used to go to by Messianic Jews. They sang a lot of the prayers, a lot of responsive reading, lots of "blessing to you", etc.
I listened to the prayers (most were in English) and can't say I disagree with most of what was said. They asked Mary to pray for them, asked John to pray for them, I'm not sure I've ever thought about a person who had died praying for me. I'll have to think of what that means.
The service was a feast for John the Baptist (I was glad they acknowledged that he was Baptist). They also talked about a feast for Mary. I never thought about feasts like that.
There were things I didn't agree with. The priest said the baptism took away original sin. I believe baptism is a sign, an outward sign of an inward change. I don't get hung up about when you get baptised, I know a lot of Baptists are very picky about that. But I feel like, if it's a sign of obedience, it really doesn't matter if you did it after you accepted Christ or even if you did it. Yes, you should, but it won't keep you out of heaven if you don't.
I would have more of a problem with someone who didn't want to do it. Why not? But then I'd have a problem with someone saying it was required. Why? Baptism doesn't save you.
All in all, it was a good service. And I saw a lot of things I had never seen before.