At 9.25 this morning, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, in the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Father Francis presided at the Holy Mass during which he administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 34 newborns, 16 boys and 18 girls.
The following is the extemporaneous homily the Holy Father pronounced after the reading of the Holy Gospel:
Homily of the Holy Father
You bring your children to be baptized, and this is the first step of that task you have, the task of the transmission of the faith.
But we need the Holy Spirit to transmit the faith, as alone we cannot. To be able to transmit faith is a grace of the Holy Spirit, the possibility of transmitting it; and this is why you bring your children here, so that they can receive the Holy Spirit, receive the Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – Who will dwell in their hearts.
I would like to say just one thing to you, which relates to you: the transmission of the faith can be done only “in dialect”, in the family dialect, in the dialect of mother and father, grandfather and grandmother. Then the catechists will come to develop this first transmission, with ideas, with explanations… But do not forget this: it is done “in dialect”, and if the dialect is lacking, if at home that language of love is not spoken between the parents, the transmission will not be very easy, it cannot be done. Do not forget. Your task is to transmit faith but to do so with the dialect of the love of your home, of the family.
They too [the babies] have their own “dialect”, which is good to hear! Now they are all quiet, but it is enough for one to set the tone and then the orchestra follows! The dialect of babies! And Jesus advises us to be like them, to speak like them. We must not forget that language of children, who speak as they can, but it is the language that Jesus likes so much. And in your prayers, be simple like them, say to Jesus what comes into your heart just as they do. Today they will say it with their cries, yes, like babies do. The dialect of parents, which is love to transmit faith, and the dialect of children that must be welcomed by parents so as to grow in faith.
Let us now continue the ceremony, and if they begin their concert it is because they are not comfortable, or are too hot, or do not feel at ease, or are hungry. If they are hungry, nurse them, do not be afraid to, feed them, because this too is a language of love.