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Heaven opens above the children

· In the Sistine Chapel Benedict XVI baptises Twenty infants ·

At the Angelus the greeting to migrants 'heralds of faith and hope in the world'

Twenty newborn babies were baptized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday morning 13 January, The Liturgical Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, in the Sistine Chapel. Children of Vatican employees, these little ones were accompanied by their parents and godparents. The Holy Father, speaking to them about the baptism of Jesus – who with his act “ joined those who recognized they were in need of forgiveness and asked God for the gift of conversion” – assured them: “The heavens have also opened above your children and God says, these are my children, children with whom I am well pleased”.

Freed of original sin, the Pope said,  little ones become “living members of the one body that is the Church”. And in this way they “are enabled to live their vocation to holiness in fullness, so as to be able to inherit eternal life”.

Awareness of this gives rise to the importance of the “educational task” of parents, who are called to pass on to their children the truths of the faith and the Gospel values, bringing them up “in ever deeper friendship with the Lord”. This is no easy task, as Benedict XVI recognized, “especially... in the context in which we live, in  a society that all too often considers those who live by faith in Jesus as out of fashion and out of time”. Indeed, “as we gradually proceed on our journey of faith, we realize that Jesus exercises upon us the liberating action of God’s love which brings us out of our selfishness, our withdrawal into ourselves, to lead us to a full life in communion with God and open to others”.

Also at the Angelus recited with the faithful in St Peter's Square at the end of the Eucharistic celebration the Pope returned  to the centrality of love which is “the very name of God”. Jesus, he emphasized, “is the new man who wants to live as a son of God, that is, in love; the man who, in the face of the evil of the world, chooses not to save himself but to offer his own life for truth and justice”.

At the end of the Marian prayer, before greeting the various language groups present, the Pope recalled the celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “Whoever leaves his land, does so hoping for a better future, but he also does so because he trusts in God who guides the footsteps of man”. In this regard “migrants are heralds of faith and hope in the world”, he concluded, assuring Catholic communities of migrants of his prayers and entrusting them “to the protection of the St Cabrini and of Blessed Scalabrini”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 21, 2018

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