Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Amid a festive atmosphere resounding with crying babies, Pope Francis baptised 33 children, 20 boys and 13 girls, in the Sistine Chapel. Through the baptism, the pope said, we become part of the "body of the Church"; we become Christians.
"In this body, in this people on its journey, faith is passed on from generation to generation: it is the faith of the Church. [. . .] This is very beautiful! It is passing the candle of faith from hand to hand."
"The Lord," the pontiff went on to say, "is concerned about his children, like a parent. He is worried about giving his children nutritious food. Through the prophet, God says, 'Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?' (Is, 55:2). Like a good father and a good mother, God wants to give good things to his children. And what is the nutritious food that God gives us? It is his word: his Word makes us grow, make us bear good fruit in life, like rain and snow are good for the earth and make it fruitful (cf. Is, 55:10-11). So you, parents, and also you, godparents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, you will help these children to grow well if you give them God's Word, the Gospel of Jesus."
"You mothers give your children milk. Even now, if they are hungry and crying, you can give them milk. Let us thank the Lord for the gift of milk, and let us pray for those mothers - and there are too many of them, unfortunately - who are not in a position to feed their children. Let us pray and try to help these mothers. Thus, what milk does for the body, God's Word does for the spirit: God's Word makes faith grow. Thanks to faith, we are created by God. This is what happens in Baptism."
"In Baptism we are consecrated by the Holy Spirit. The word 'Christian' means this, consecrated like Jesus, in the same spirit in which Jesus was surrounded throughout his earthly existence."
"So, dear parents, dear godfathers and godmothers, if you want your children to become true Christians, help them to grow 'immersed' in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the warmth of God's love, in the light of his Word. For this, do not forget to invoke often the Holy Spirit, every day."
"Usually, we pray to Jesus. When we say 'Our Father', we pray to the Father. But, we do not pray to the Holy Spirit that much . . . It is very important to pray to the Holy Spirit to teach us to carry on the family, so that these children grow up in the atmosphere of the Holy Trinity. It is precisely the Spirit that brings them forward."
"For this reason, do not forget to invoke often the Holy Spirit, every day," said the pope in concluding. "You can do this, for example, with this simple prayer: ' Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love'."
"When you recite this prayer, you will feel the maternal presence of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us to pray to the Holy Spirit, and to live according to the Spirit, like Jesus."
"May Our Lady always accompany the journey of your children and your families."