Valentina di Giorgio
(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 01.07.2024).- On the occasion of the liturgical feast of the baptism of Jesus Christ, celebrated by the Catholic Church on Sunday, January 7, Pope Francis baptized 16 children in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican City.
The parents of the children were accompanied by the godparents. It is a tradition each year for the Pope to baptize the children of Vatican employees. For this reason, the Sistine Chapel, which is part of the Vatican Museums tour, is closed to the public.
The Holy Mass with baptism began at 9:30 in the morning. After the Gospel reading, the Pope delivered a very brief homily in which he said:
“We are here to baptize, to give the gift of faith to our children. And they are the protagonists of this ceremony: they can speak, walk, shout… They are in charge because it is their celebration: they will receive the most beautiful gift, the gift of faith, the gift of the Lord.
If they cry – for now, they are quiet, but as soon as one starts, the concert begins – let them cry; if they are hungry, feed them, calmly, here. If they are hot, take off their clothes, because sometimes heat is harmful.
They are the protagonists because today they will also give us the testimony of how faith is received: with innocence, with an open heart.
And to you, parents and godparents, I wish that your lives help these children, that you help them grow. I wish that you accompany them in their growth because this is a way to help the faith grow in them. Thank you very much for your testimony, for bringing them here to receive the faith.
And now, let us continue with the Baptism ritual.
Next, parents and godparents approached with each child. Pope Francis was accompanied by Cardinals Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, and Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC, President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State.
Before giving the final blessing, the Pope said, “Before giving you the blessing, I thank you for having started this life of your children with Baptism. And I entrust you, so that they know the date of Baptism because it is the date of birth. And each one of us too. If I ask you: ‘What is the date of your birth?’ I don’t know if everyone will know. But think well: the date of birth is like a birthday, the date on which I received the grace of the Lord and became a Christian. Teach this to the children so that they celebrate it every year.”