"Sveva, Filippo Maria, Elena, Tommaso, Luca, Leonardo Pio Giovanni Paolo, Caterina, Marika, Leonardo, Melanie, Sofia, Anita, Sara: they are all newborns but they now have something important to tell. They have received the sacrament of Baptism from the hands of Pope Benedict XVI on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.” With these words the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano began a special report on the baptisms celebrated by the Pontiff in the Sistine Chapel last Sunday.
The report noted that this was the third time that the Pope has celebrated the sacrament of Baptism thus far during his pontificate. “The babies, who were quiet and calm during almost the entire rite, were located with their parents and godparents in two rows in front of the ancient altar of the Sistine where the Pope had celebrated Holy Mass,” the newspaper revealed.
The presence of the children, “accompanied by those closest to them, who were excited by this unique event in the lives of their babies, and the passing of strollers and bottles to keep them calm, all contributed to giving the celebration a family tone, under the austere gaze of the figures of Michelangelo that adorn the Sistine Chapel,” the article continued.
After the introductory rite and the “dialogue with the parents,” the Pope “traced the sign of the cross on the foreheads of each of the babies and invited the parents to do the same. The pouring of water on their heads afterwards was done at a bronze baptismal font, given to John Paul II by the Church in Rome on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination.”
As a memento of the celebration, the Holy Father gave the new members of the Church a picture of the Mary with the Child Jesus. Among those present was the director of the L’Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, and Alberto Gasbarri, administrative director of Vatican Radio.