Pope Francis recalled this Sunday the importance of baptizing children when they are young to grow up with the “strength of the Holy Spirit” during the ceremony in which he baptized 32 children in the Sistine Chapel.
It is an act that recalls the baptism of Jesus and one of the few that take place in the Sistine Chapel under the frescoes of Michelangelo, where the conclaves are held to elect the pope.
In this long ceremony, the Pope chose to pronounce a brief and improvised homily in which he assured that “baptizing a son is an act of justice for him” because, he observed, with “baptism we give him a treasure, a commitment, the Spirit Holy”.
With baptism, he added, “the child comes out with the power of the Spirit within, who will defend him and help him throughout his life and that is why it is so important to baptize him as children so that they grow with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The pope then reassured the parents, employees of the Vatican State, and told them not to worry if the children uncomfortable because of the heat, hunger or the elegant dresses they have put on for this day began to cry or shout during the ceremony .
“One will start and another will follow. For now the concert has not started, but it will begin. Let the children cry and scream,” he said.
As on other occasions, Francisco invited mothers to breastfeed without any problem and “in peace” here in the Sistine.
“It’s a beautiful preaching when everyone starts to cry,” he added.
Later in this ceremony full of rites, which began with the sign of the cross made by the Pope to the babies, the 14 girls and 18 boys present received the anointing in the chest by the two concelebrants the archbishop and prefect of the House Pontifical, Georg Gaenswein and the Secretary General of the Governor of the Vatican State, the Spanish bishop Fernando Vérgez.
After the act of baptism, in which the water is spilled on the head of the little ones, it was also performed personally by the pope in the baptismal font placed on one of the sides of the Sistine.
Subsequently, the children were visited with a white robe, a symbol of new life after baptism, and then each parent approached the Paschal Candle located near the pope to light a candle for each baptized child.
The concelebrants subsequently touched the children’s mouth and ears, in the last of the rites of this ceremony.
In this way, Francis continued for another year a tradition promoted by the today Saint John Paul II to remember the day in which the liturgical calendar recalls the baptism of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River.
Francisco has always given great importance to the first of the seven sacraments and has disapproved of the practice of those who wait for his son to grow up to decide for himself whether to acquire it.
And on several occasions, such as last Wednesday during the general audience, he has urged the faithful to memorize the date of his baptism as if it were his birthday or other important commemorations of their lives.