Pope Urges Rediscovery of the Joy of Baptism

Bestows Sacrament on 10 Infants in Sistine Chapel

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI urges all baptized persons, regardless of their Christian creed, to rediscover the joy and beauty of this sacrament.

The Pope made this appeal today from the window of his study, on a cold but sunny morning, to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to recite the Angelus.

After mentioning that minutes earlier he had baptized 10 newborns in the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Father explained that the «baptism of children expresses and realizes the mystery of the new birth of divine life in Christ.»

«Believing parents take their children to the baptismal font, representation of the ‘womb’ of the Church, from whose blessed waters the children of God are begotten,» he said.

The Bishop of Rome said that the «gift received by the newborns calls for its being accepted by them, once they become adults, in a free and responsible way: This process of maturation will lead them later to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, which in fact will confirm their baptism and will confer on them the ‘seal’ of the Holy Spirit.»

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River. In countries in which Jan. 6 is not a holy day, the Church celebrates the Epiphany.

The Pontiff expressed the hope today that Christians will «discover the joy and beauty of their baptism, that, lived with faith, is an ever present reality; it continually renews us in the image of the new man, in holiness of thoughts and deeds.»

He said that baptism «unites Christians of all creeds insofar as baptized, we are all children of God in Christ Jesus, our master and lord.»

Benedict XVI prayed that all Christians might receive «the grace to understand ever more the value of our baptism and to witness to it with a worthy conduct of life.»

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