Baptism Is Key for New Evangelization, Says Pope

Encourages the Catechesis of Adults

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2005 ( John Paul II believes that the new evangelization, a key objective of his 26-year pontificate, calls for the rediscovery of the importance of baptism.

In this connection, the Pope encouraged the catechesis of adults, when he addressed the crowds in St. Peter’s Square today from the window of his study.

Today the Church celebrated the feast of the Baptism of Jesus, which marks the close of the liturgical period of Christmas.

The mission of the Christian “begins with baptism,” the Holy Father said in a clear voice, before leading the praying of the midday Angelus.

“The rediscovery of baptism, through opportune courses of catechesis in adulthood, is therefore a relevant aspect of the new evangelization,” he noted.

“To renew in a more mature manner one’s adherence to the faith is the condition for true and full participation in the Eucharistic celebration, which constitutes the culmination of ecclesial life,” the Pope continued.

His hope is that those who are baptized will “make their own life a constant oblation to God in the daily exercise of the commandment of love, thus exercising the common priesthood that is proper to every baptized person.”

After praying the Angelus, the Pontiff said his thoughts were with “the children who were baptized in the course of this year. I embrace and bless them.”

“I also bless the godfathers and godmothers and, in particular, the parents of the newly baptized, exhorting all to cultivate in them, by word and example, the seed of divine life arising from the sacrament of baptism,” he added.

On Monday, John Paul II will assess the international situation when he receives members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

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