Every year for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord the Holy Father takes part in a special tradition: he celebrates Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the Vatican workers who have had babies in the last year and baptizes the little ones.
The tradition began with John Paul II in the first year of his pontificate. Pope Benedict XVI continued the tradition after his election. The Mass is perhaps one of the most visually interesting papal liturgies of the year, not only because of the spectacular back drop but also because of the varied reactions of the newly baptized. Some sleep, some cry, some follow the pope’s every move wide-eyed. Then of course, there’s the look of serene joy on the Pope’s face as he carries out the most fundamental of priestly ministries.
This year he told the parents of the newly baptized that prayer and sacraments will give them the strength and guidance they need to promote their child's well being.
For more on the homily take a look at this report by Catholic News Service
Photo courtesy of CNS/L'Osservatore Romano/Reuters