VATICAN CITY – The Sistine Chapel is normally crowded with pilgrims and tourists gazing up at Michelangelo’s art. But this weekend, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in a special way under the frescoes.
Employees of the Vatican and their children gathered with the pope on Sunday. To celebrate the feast, Pope Francis baptized all the children born to Vatican employees in 2019. This is a tradition started by Saint Pope John Paul II.
“Babies are not used to coming to the Sistine Chapel,” Pope Francis remarked in his homily during the Mass. He intentionally kept his comments short so that the seventeen boys and fifteen girls gathered for their baptism wouldn’t get uncomfortable.
But if they started squirming and making noise?
“Let the children cry,” Pope Francis reassured the parents. “It is a beautiful homily when a child cries in church, a beautiful homily.”
The pontiff also encouraged the couples gathered to raise their children with knowledge of the Catholic faith.
“Just as Jesus went to receive baptism, you bring your children,” Pope Francis said. “The power of the Holy Spirit comes to defend them for the rest of their lives.”
“This is why it is so important to baptize them as babies because they grow with the power of the Holy Spirit,” he concluded.