Last weekend an Irish baby girl was among 32 children christened by Pope Francis during a Mass held in the Sistine Chapel.
Polly Rose Cabrera, daughter of Emer McCarthy Cabrera from Wicklow
and Raul Cabrera from Peru, who both work with Vatican Radio, took the
excitement of the event in her stride according to her mother.
“It was incredible to be in such awe inspiring surroundings and to
have Pope Francis baptising our baby,” Emer said. “But regardless of
that I think a baptism is moving for every parent because it marks a
moment, the beginning of change in any parent’s life. So it was a very
emotional moment but the baby took it in her stride. There were no tears
and the Pope shook her hand.”
Traditionally the Pope baptises children born to Vatican employees
between four weeks and four months old, but last weekend Pope Francis
allowed older children so there was a bigger group than normal at the
ceremony for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
“The Sistine Chapel
was full and there was a real family atmosphere with mothers helping
each other to settle their babies,” Emer said. “The Hall of Benedictions
was converted into a special baby changing room for the day, with a
Swiss guard on duty outside making sure parents were not disturbed.”
“It was also wonderful that friends and family were able to watch the
live broadcast online and we received messages of congratulations from
as far as Slovakia, Germany and Latin America,” she said.
In a short homily, Pope Francis described the children as a link in
the chain of faith and encouraged mothers not to be reluctant to breast
feed during the ceremony.
“Today the choir is singing; but the most beautiful choir is that of
the children, who are making noise... Some cry because they are not
comfortable, or because they are hungry: if they are hungry, moms, give
them something to eat, calmly, because they are the central figures, the
protagonists [of this celebration],” he said.