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Baptizing 32 Babies in Sistine Chapel, Pope Reminds Parents to Pass Down Gift of Faith (Full Text of Homily)

On Feast of Baptism of Our Lord, Also Reminds Mothers They Can Nurse Their Perhaps Hungry Babies & Not Worry If They Start to Cry or Scream

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For the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Francis has baptized 32 babies (17 baby boys and 15 baby girls) during the Mass he celebrated this morning in the Sistine Chapel.

During his homily, he reminded the parents of the importance of passing on the faith to their children and the great responsibility it entails. He also acknowledged the cries which resonated in the chapel, and recognizing that some of the babies could be hungry, reminded mothers to feel free to nurse their children as they normally would do.

Below is a ZENIT working translation by ZENIT of the Pope’s brief off-the-cuff homily:


As Jesus who went to be baptized, so you have brought your children.

Jesus answers John: “It is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness” (Cf. Matthew 3:15). To baptize a child is an act of righteousness for him. And why? Because in Baptism we give him a treasure, in Baptism we give him a pledge: the Holy Spirit .The child comes out [of Baptism] 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.

This is the message I want to give you today. You have brought your children today [so that they have] within the Holy Spirit. And take care that they grow with the light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, through catechesis, help, teaching, the examples you will give at home . . . This is the message.

I don’t want to say anything stronger to you, only a warning. The children aren’t used to coming to the Sistine, it’s the first time! They aren’t used to be shut-in in an environment that is also a bit warm. And they aren’t used to be dressed like this, for a feast as beautiful as today’s. They will feel a bit uncomfortable at a certain moment. And one will begin [to cry] . . . <however> the concert has not yet begun!  But one will begin, then another . . . Don’t get upset; let the children cry and scream. But, instead, if you child cries and complains, perhaps it’s because he feels too hot: take something off of him, or because he’s hungry: nurse him, here, yes, always in peace. Something that I said also last year: they have a “choral” dimension: it’s enough for one to give the “A” and they all start, and the concert will be done. Don’t get upset. It’s a good homily when a child cries in church; it’s a good homily. Make him feel better, and we go on.

Don’t forget: you bring the Holy Spirit in the children.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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