By Melissa N. Butz
The Sistine Chapel seemed more like a normal parish on Jan. 12 as Pope Francis baptized 32 children — sons and daughters of Vatican employees.
“Baptizing a child is an act of justice. Why? Because in Baptism we give him or her a treasure. In Baptism, we give them a gift: the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said, explained during his homily why baptizing children soon after birth is important.
The Holy Father tried to make the families feel at home and not overwhelmed by the formal ceremony taking place inside the Sistine Chapel.
“Don’t be afraid. Let the children cry and scream,” he said. “If your child cries and complains, maybe it’s because he’s too hot. Take off some of his layers. Or maybe she’s hungry. Feed her here, yes, without worrying. It is a beautiful homily. When a child cries in church, it’s a beautiful homily.”
There were some surprises during the baptisms: two families baptized two children, and a little one showed the pontiff a loving display of affection.
Another less-known scene also took place: Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, handed out the small, white, baptismal vestments to the children.