By Vatican News staff writer
Celebrating the morning Mass in the majestic beauty of the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis personally administered the Sacrament of Baptism on sixteen infants, nine girls and seven boys, who are the children of Vatican employees working here at the Holy See. Today’s celebration marks the feast day that recalls Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.
In his brief homily given without a scripted text, Pope Francis said today these infants will receive their Christian identity through the Sacrament of Baptism being administered today. And the role of parents and godparents is to help them deepen and preserve this Christian identity throughout their lives. It is a daily effort and commitment, the Pope added, underlining the importance to help the children grow in the blessing of the light they receive today.
Recalling a liturgical hymn for this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Pope described how it recounts how the People of Israel went to the Jordan with their feet and soul totally exposed as a sign of our need for God and to be cleansed by Him. So too are these infants here today, he observed, ready to receive the justification and strength from God to go forward in life with the help of their parents and godparents who have the responsibility to help them preserve their Christian identity.
In conclusion, the Pope encouraged the parents of the soon-to-be baptized to keep their infants warm, since it can be quite cool in the Sistine Chapel during the Winter months, and to make them feel at home, nurse them and to realize that if they cry, it is also an expression of their spirit being in community with all those present.