VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - On Sunday Pope Francis baptized 26 babies in the Sistine Chapel, telling parents to nurture the faith in the lives of their children, because it is the greatest inheritance they can give.
"Don't forget that the greatest inheritance you can give to your children is the faith. Try to see that it is not lost, nurture it and leave it as an inheritance," the Pope said Jan. 10.
Francis celebrated Mass for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord in the Sistine Chapel, where he kept with papal tradition and baptized several infants. This year there were 26 - 13 girls and 13 boys.
In his brief homily, the Pope told parents that in bringing their children to the chapel to receive baptism, they are imitating the act of Mary and Joseph, who, 40 days after Jesus' birth, brought him to the temple to present him to God.
"This is how faith is transmitted from one generation to the next, like a chain across time," he said, referring to how it is faith that is received during the sacrament.
Eventually the infants baptized will grow up to be parents themselves, and will ask the same thing for their own children, he observed: "the faith, the faith that is given in baptism, the faith which today brings the Holy Spirit into the hearts, souls and life lives of these, your children."
Pope Francis then pointed to the specific point in the rite of baptism in which the parents are handed a lit candle, and told to safeguard the faith of their newly baptized babies.
He told them that faith is the greatest treasure they can leave their children, and encouraged them to make this faith grow throughout the lives of their children.
"This is what I wish for you today, which is a joyful day for you. I hope that you will be able to help these children grow in the faith, and that the greatest inheritance they can receive from you is the faith."