Pope baptizes 32 babies in Sistine Chapel; tells parents that baptism is an “act of justice,” because it’s giving the child a treasure
As is tradition on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the pope baptized infants today in the Sistine Chapel.
There were 32 babies baptized this year, children born in the past year to families of Vatican employees and diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
“Baptizing a child is an act of justice,” the pope said, “because in Baptism we give him or her a treasure, we give them a pledge: the Holy Spirit.”
The child emerges from the [baptismal water] with the strength of the Spirit within: the Spirit that will defend him, help him throughout his life. This is why it’s so important to baptize children, so that they grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Father urged the parents and godparents “to take care that they grow up with the light, with the power of the Holy Spirit, through catechesis, assistance, teaching, the example you give at home.”
This, he said, “is the message I want to give to you today.”
Pope Francis also told the families not to worry if their children made a fuss during the ceremonies, giving practical advice to make sure they weren’t over-hot in the warm chapel, with all their baptismal finery, or hungry and needing to nurse. If the latter, as he has said many times during this annual celebration, making himself into an advocate for nursing, the mothers should nurse them.
“The children aren’t used to coming to the Sistine [Chapel]. It’s their first time.”
If they do start to cry, he said, try to make them comfortable, but don’t worry if they keep it up. “Children are choral,” he said; if one starts making noise, they all join in. “Don’t get upset!” he said. “When a child cries in church, it’s a beautiful homily.”