Catholic World News

Pope baptizes children, speaks of parents' duties as educators

January 09, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI baptized 16 infants on January 8, the feast of the Baptism of Christ, and reminded their parents and godparents of their duties to promote the children’s faith.

In his homily during the ceremony, which was held according to a Vatican tradition in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope commented on the words of the prophet Isaiah about drawing “water from the wells of salvation.” That water, the Pope said, stands for the grace of God.

"As adults, we have undertaken to draw from good wells, for our own benefit and that of the people entrusted to our care,” the Pope continued. In order to form children in the faith, he said, parents “must give a great deal, but in order to give they must also receive, otherwise they become empty and dry.” He urged the parents and godparents to refresh themselves continually from the “wells” that are the sacraments and the Word of God. Without that constant refreshment, he said, “we are no longer able to educate others.”

“Parents are not the well, just as we priests are not the well,” the Pope remarked. Religious instruction, he said, must always point beyond the teacher to the ultimate source of faith. “Education,” the Holy Father said, “becomes a wonderful mission if it is done in partnership with God, who is the first true educator of every man.”

After the morning ceremony in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope appeared from the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace for his Angelus audience, and spoke about childhood: a condition that everyone experiences.

“Coming into the world is never our choice,” the Pope observed. But with maturity one “can develop a positive attitude toward life, we can welcome it as a gift.” With spiritual maturity, he added, the faithful can discern the greater gift: “All of us are likewise children of God.”

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