Pope Francis baptizes babies in the Sistine Chapel for the first time since COVID-19 declared a pandemic | National Catholic Register

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The Pope baptized 16 babies during the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. He told the parents of the seven boys and nine girls that their task was to safeguard the Christian identity of their children.

Pope Francis baptized babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday for the first time since the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pope baptized 16 babies on Jan. 9, the feast of the Lord’s Baptism, a year after he was forced to cancel the annual event due to COVID-19.

In a brief impromptu homily under Michelangelo’s depiction of the Last Judgment, the pope said that at baptism children receive their Christian identity.

He told the parents of the seven boys and nine girls that their task was to safeguard the Christian identity of their children.

On January 12, 2020, Pope Francis baptized 32 infants, 17 boys and 15 girls. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11 of that year.

In 2021, newborns eligible for baptism in the Sistine Chapel received the sacrament in their home parishes instead.

The Pope concelebrated Mass on Sunday with Papal Chaplain Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Archbishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

In 2020, the Pope celebrated the liturgy ad orientem, or facing east, at the original Sistine Chapel altar directly below the Last judgement. But this year he offered Mass versus population, or facing the congregation, at an altar a few paces in front of the oldest.

Throughout the mass, the songs of the Sistine Chapel choir rivaled the cries of babies.

A sin The previous years, the Pope told parents not to worry if their babies cried during the ceremony.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by Saint John the Baptist.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describe baptism as “the basis of the whole Christian life, the door of access to life in the Spirit… and the door of access to the other sacraments”.

Saint John Paul II began the papal tradition of baptizing infants in the Sixtine Chapel on the feast of the baptism of the Lord on January 11, 1981.

The ceremony first took place in Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace but was transferred to the Sistine Chapel in 1983.

The event was initially just for the babies of the Swiss Guards, but later expanded to include the children of Vatican workers.

Children must be under one year old and their parents must be married in the Church. Each child is accompanied in the Sistine Chapel by his parents, brothers and sisters, godfather and godmother.

Family groups attend a rehearsal before the ceremony. During the event, the Vatican provides changing tables in a room next to the Apostolic Palace.

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