“Let them cry quietly, let them feel free. But let them not feel too hot, and if they are hungry, let them not remain hungry.”
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes baptism as the “basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit … and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.”
St. John Paul II began the papal tradition of baptizing children in the Sistine Chapel on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 11, 1981.
The ceremony initially took place in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace but was moved to the Sistine Chapel in 1983.
The event was reserved at first to babies of Swiss Guards but later expanded to include the children of Vatican employees.
To qualify, children have to be under one year of age and their parents must be married in the Church. Each child is accompanied in the Sistine Chapel by its parents, siblings, godfather, and godmother.
The family groups attend a rehearsal before the ceremony. During the event, the Vatican provides baby-changing tables in a nearby room in the Apostolic Palace.
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