Pope Francis announced Sunday after the Angelus that his “urgent” prayer for the month of January is for all those without shelter, who are especially affected by the cold weather during the winter.
“During these very cold days, I think of and I invite you to think of
all the people who live on the streets, affected by the cold and many
times by indifference,” he said Jan. 8.
“Unfortunately some didn’t make it. Let us pray for them, and let us
ask the Lord to warm our hearts so as to be able to help them.”
Last week the Vatican announced that the Pope would be making some changes to his intentions in 2017, adding an “urgent” prayer intention himself each month, alongside the usual monthly intention, in order to garner rapid support for a cause.
In the morning on Jan. 8, the Pope said Mass in the Sistine Chapel,
baptizing 28 babies. In his message before the Angelus, he said he would
like to extend his “prayers to all parents who at this time are
preparing for the Baptism of their child, or have just celebrated it.”
“I invoke the Holy Spirit upon them, and on children, because this
Sacrament, so simple and yet so important, is lived with faith and joy,”
Pope St. John Paul II started the custom for the Pope to baptize
babies in the Sistine Chapel on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The Baptism of the Lord is typically celebrated on the Sunday
following Jan. 6, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, unless in a
particular country the Epiphany is celebrated on Jan. 7 or 8, as it is
in the US, then the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday
Speaking about Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan
River, Francis reflected on how John says to Jesus, “I need to be
baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
John the Baptist “is aware of the fact that there is great distance
between him and Jesus. But Jesus came precisely to bridge the gap
between man and God,” he said.
“For that he asks John to baptize him, because it fulfills all
righteousness, that is, you realize the plan of the Father which passes
through the path of obedience and solidarity with the fragile and sinful
This is one of the beautiful aspects of this feast day, the Pope
noted. That it “makes us rediscover the gift and beauty” of being
baptized people. That we are sinners “saved by the grace of Christ.”
Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to enter into the filial
relationship of Jesus to God the Father, and be “welcomed into the bosom
of Mother Church,” a relationship that knows “no boundaries and
barriers,” he said.
The example Jesus gives us through his own baptism, is an example of
the missionary style of Christ’s disciples, Francis said, which is “to
proclaim the Gospel with meekness and firmness, without arrogance or
The real mission is “never proselytism,” he continued, but
“attraction to Christ,” which is brought out through strong union with
God in “prayer, adoration and concrete charity, which is service to
Jesus present in the least of our brothers.”
“In imitation of Jesus, good and merciful Shepherd, and animated by
his grace, we are called to make our life a joyful witness that
illuminates the path, that brings hope and love,” he said.