ROME, Italy — Pope Francis baptized 13 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, calling the ceremony a “new birthday” into the Christian life.
During his homily at Mass, the pontiff thanked parents for taking their children to the baptismal font as well as urging parents to be especially loyal to the Virgin Mary.
“Pray also to Our Lady, who is the Mother, who is our Mother,” he said. “It is said that when someone is angry with the Lord, or has moved away, Our Lady is always close to facilitate his return.”
“The Lord is always close to us, however Our Lady is our mommy and the mom is always more close than dad. Every time,” he asserted. “Why? Because that's just the way it is. Moms are just like that, and that's a great thing.”
“The important thing is that today this celebration is a party, the feast of the beginning of a beautiful Christian journey, in which you will help your children move forward,” the priest said.
The pope also exhorted all the present adults to remember and commemorate the annual anniversary of their baptism.
“Let us not forget when we were baptized,” he added. “It is like a birthday because Baptism makes us born again to Christian life.”
“For this reason, I advise you to teach your children their Baptism day as a new birthday: that every year they may remember and thank God for this grace of having become Christians,” said the Pope.
The pope repeated the same idea in the following Angelus message:
“I want to know: Do you have any idea of what date you had a personal baptism? Many of you don't,” he said. “Ask your parents, your relatives, your godparents: and then, every year, celebrate that date, because it is a new birthday, a birthday of faith.”
“This is today's task, for each one of you: to find out the date of your Baptism, in order to be able to celebrate it,” he stated.