Pope Francis "The Sign of the Cross expresses the seal of Christ...Teach children to do the Sign of the Cross well." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Catechesis on Baptism. 2. The sign of the Christian faith

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We continue the catechesis on Baptism during this Easter season. The meaning of baptism clearly stands out from its celebration, so we turn our attention to it. Considering the gestures and words of the liturgy we can grasp the grace and commitment of this sacrament, which is always to be rediscovered. We remember this in the sprinkling with the holy water that can be done on Sundays at the beginning of the Mass, as well as in the renewal of the baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil. In fact, what happens in the celebration of baptism arouses a spiritual dynamic that goes through the whole life of the baptized; it is the beginning of a process that allows one to live united to Christ in the Church. Therefore, returning to the source of Christian life leads us to better understand the gift received on the day of our Baptism and to renew the commitment to respond to it in the condition in which we find ourselves today. Renew the commitment, better understand this gift, which is baptism, and remember the day of our baptism. Last Wednesday I asked to do homework and each of us, remember the day of the baptism, which day I was baptized. I know that some of you know it, others, no; those who do not know it, ask the relatives, those people, godparents, godmothers ... ask: "What is the date of my baptism?" Because Baptism is a rebirth and it is like a second birthday. I got it? Do this homework, ask: "What is the date of my baptism?".

First of all, in the welcoming rite, the candidate's name is asked, because the name indicates the identity of a person. When we introduce ourselves, we immediately say our name: "I call myself so", so as to get out of anonymity, the anonymous is the one that has no name. To get out of anonymity, let's say our name right away. Without name you remain unknown, without rights and duties. God calls each one by name, loving us individually, in the concreteness of our history. Baptism ignites the personal vocation to live as Christians, which will develop throughout life. And it implies a personal and not borrowed answer, with a "copy and paste". In fact, Christian life is interwoven with a series of calls and answers: God continues to pronounce our name over the years, making his call to conform to his Son Jesus resound in a thousand ways. The name is therefore important! Is very important! Parents think of the name to give to their child before birth: this too is part of the expectation of a child who, in his own name, will have his original identity, even for the Christian life tied to God.

Of course, becoming a Christian is a gift that comes from above (cf. Jn 3: 3-8). Faith can not be bought, but to ask yes, and to receive as a gift yes. "Lord, give me the gift of faith", it is a beautiful prayer! "That I have faith" is a beautiful prayer. Ask for it as a gift, but you can not buy it, you ask. In fact, "Baptism is the sacrament of that faith, by which men, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, respond to the Gospel of Christ" (Rite of the Baptism of Children, Introductory Gen., No. 3). The formation of catechumens and the preparation of parents tend to arouse and awaken a sincere faith in response to the Gospel, such as listening to the Word of God in the celebration of baptism.

If adult catechumens show firsthand what they want to receive as a gift from the Church, children are presented by their parents, with their godparents. Dialogue with them, allows them to express the will that children receive Baptism and the Church intends to celebrate it. "Expression of all this is the sign of the cross, which the celebrant and his parents trace on the foreheads of children" (Rite of the Baptism of Children, Introd., No. 16). "The sign of the cross expresses the seal of Christ on the one who is about to belong to him and signifies the grace of redemption that Christ has acquired for us through his cross" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1235). In the ceremony we make the sign of the cross on children. But I would like to go back to a subject that I spoke to you about. Do our children know how to make the sign of the cross well? So many times I have seen children who can not make the sign of the cross. And you, father, mother, grandparents, grandmothers, godparents, godmothers, you must teach to do well the sign of the cross because it is to repeat what has been done in Baptism. You got it right? Teach children to do the sign of the cross well. If they learn it as children they will do well later, when they grow up.

The cross is the badge that shows who we are: our speaking, thinking, looking, working is under the sign of the cross, that is, under the sign of Jesus' love until the end. The children are marked in front. Adult catechumens are also marked on the senses, with these words: "Receive the sign of the cross on your ears to hear the voice of the Lord"; "On the eyes to see the splendor of the face of God"; "On the mouth, to answer the word of God"; "On the chest, because Christ dwells through faith in your hearts"; "On the shoulders, to support the gentle yoke of Christ" (Rite of the Christian initiation of adults, No. 85). Christians become the extent to which the cross is imprinted in us as an "Easter" mark (cf. Rev 14: 1, 22: 4), making visible, even outwardly, the Christian way of facing life. Making the sign of the cross when we wake up, before meals, before a danger, to defend against evil, the night before sleep means to tell ourselves and others who we belong to, who we want to be. This is why it is so important to teach children to do the sign of the cross. And, as we do when we enter the church, we can do it at home, keeping some blessed water in a small pot - some families do it: so, every time we come back or go out, making the sign of the cross with that water we remember that we are baptized. Do not forget, I repeat: to teach children to make the sign of the cross.
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les nombreux jeunes venus de France ainsi que la Délégation du Collège théologique de la Diaconie apostolique de l’Eglise de Grèce, conduite par l’Evêque Agatanghelos. Frères et sœurs, en faisant le signe de la croix quand nous nous réveillons, avant les repas, face à un danger, pour nous protéger du mal, le soir avant de dormir, nous exprimons à nous-même et aux autres à qui nous appartenons, à qui nous voulons être. Je vous invite à faire souvent dans la journée le signe de la croix. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[I cordially greeted the French pilgrims, in particular the French youth, I did not delegate the Collegio Teologico della Apostoliki Diakonia della Chiesa di Grecia, guided by the Vescovo Agathanghelos. Brothers and sisters, doing the sign of the cross: when I get up, first of all, before the pericolo, to protect him from the male and the first before sleep, let's say, yes to others, what I belong to and what do I want be gay. I invite you to take the sign of the croce spesso during the day. I gave you blessed!]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States of America. I offer a special welcome to the group of benefactors from Ireland, with gratitude for their support of the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher und niederländischer Sprache und heiße insbesondere die Stiftung Pro Oriente, die Delegation der Stadt Homburg und die Gruppe des katholischen Senders Katholieke Radio Omroep aus den Niederlanden willkommen. Der Heilige Geist helfe uns, jeden Tag aus der Taufgnade zu leben und unseren Mitmenschen die Liebe Christi sichtbar zu machen, der für uns gestorben und auferstanden ist. Der Herr segne euch alle.
[With affection I greet the pilgrims of Germanic language and of Dutch language. A welcome welcome to the Fondazione Pro Oriente, the Delegation of the Town of Homburg and the group of the Kro dei Cattolici dei Paesi Bassi. The Holy Spirit helps us to live every day the grace of the Battesimo and make visible to our neighbors the love of the dead Christ and rescue us. The Lord blessed you all.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española provenientes de España y América Latina. En este tiempo de pascua, pidamos a la Virgen María que nos ayude a renovar la gracia del bautismo que hemos recibido, para vivir cada día más unidos a Cristo como miembros de la Iglesia. Que el Señor los bendiga. Muchas gracias.
I cordially greet Spanish pilgrims from Spain and Latin America. In this time of Easter, we ask the Virgin Mary to help us renew the grace of baptism we have received, to live more and more together with Christ as members of the Church. May the Lord bless you. Thank you very much.

Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nomeadamente aos grupos vindos das dioceses de Cascavel, Natal, São José do Rio Preto e São José dos Campos, encorajando todos a ser testemunhas do amor que Jesus nos demonstrou com o seu sacrifício na Cruz. Que a cruz seja o sinal duma vida de jubilosa doação ao próximo. De bom grado vos abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos!
I cordially greet the Portuguese-language pilgrims, especially the groups coming from the dioceses of Cascavel, Natal, São José do Rio Preto and São José dos Campos, encouraging everyone to be witnesses to the love Jesus showed us as his sacrifice on the Cross. That the cross bears the sign duma life of jubilant donation to the next. Good grades I bless you and your beloved beings!
أرحب بمودة بالأشخاص الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من سوريا، ‏ومن لبنان، ومن الشرق ‏الأوسط. تهبنا المعمودية نعمة قبول الروح القدس الذي ‏يزرع في قلوبنا نعمة الإيمان. وتبقى مسؤوليتنا أن ننمي ‏هذه البذرة من خلال كلمة ‏الله، والأسرار المقدسة، والصلاة وأعمال المحبة.‏ ليبارككم ‏الرب ‏‏جميعا ‏ويحرسكم ‏من ‏الشرير! ‏‏‏
[It was a warm welcome to all Arab language people, in particular to those from Syria, from Lebanon and from the Middle East. Il Battesimo gives us the grace to receive the Holy Spiritual that Our son is born in our hearts the child of faith. Keep our responsibility to grow it through the Word of God, the Sacrament, prayer and charity. The Lord bless you all and I protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. W tych dniach, obchodzony jest w Polsce X Tydzień Biblijny, którego motto brzmi: „Jesteśmy napełnieni Duchem Świętym”. Usiłujcie, zatem każdego dnia, indywidualnie lub z rodziną, znaleźć chwilę czasu na lekturę i medytację Pisma świętego, abyście mogli zaczerpnąć z niego nieodzowną moc dla waszego życia chrześcijańskiego. Niech to będzie waszym zadaniem. Z odwagą dzielcie się z innymi Słowem Bożym, żyjcie Nim, na co dzień, dając świadectwo wierności Chrystusowi i Jego Ewangelii. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. In these days, the Bible Week is taking place in Poland, whose motto is: "We are filled with the Holy Spirit". So look for each day, individually or in your family, to find some time to read and meditate on the Holy Scriptures, so that you can draw from it the strength necessary for the Christian life. Be this your commitment. Share the Word of God with others with courage, live by It every day, witnessing fidelity to Christ and His Gospel. Praised be Jesus Christ.]
Od srca pozdravljam sve hrvatske hodočasnike, a osobito vjernike iz Vrhbosanske nadbiskupije u Bosni i Hercegovini, predvođeni njihovim pastirom, kardinalom Vinkom Puljićem. Dragi prijatelji, svakodnevni susret i hod s Uskrslim Gospodinom neka vam ražari srca, kako biste oduševljeno svjedočili svoju vjeru i naviještali silna Božja djela! Hvaljen Isus i Marija!
[I cordially greet the Croatian pilgrims, among whom the faithful of the Archdiocese of Vrhbósna, Bósnia and Erzegóvina, accompanied by their Pastor, Cardinal Vínko Púljić. Dear friends, the daily meeting and the journey with the risen Lord make your hearts burn so that you can testify to the faith and proclaim the great works of God. May Jesus and Mary be praised!]
(Washington, April 21, 2018)

The World Bank Spring Meetings will take place next Saturday in Washington. I encourage the efforts that, through financial inclusion, seek to promote the lives of the poorest, fostering genuine, integral development that respects human dignity.


I draw attention again to Vincent Lambert and the little Alfie Evans, and I would like to reiterate and strongly confirm that the only master of life, from the beginning to the natural end, is God! And our duty, our duty is to do everything to preserve life. We think in silence and pray that the life of all people and especially of these two brothers will be respected. We pray in silence.

* * *

I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the Seminar promoted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross of Rome and those at the Convention promoted by the Focolare Movement; the Members of the Italian Presbyteral Commission and the Deacons of the Archdiocese of Milan. I sincerely hope that your pilgrimage to the tomb of Peter will make you ever more generous in your testimony of faith.

I greet the pilgrims of the Order of the Mother of God, in the 80th anniversary of the canonization of the Founder: San Giovanni Leonardi; the Parishes; the educational institutions, in particular the Highlands Institute of Rome; the Sbandieratori and Musici di Asti; the Association "Musica bene comune" of Rome.

A special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. I invite everyone to see in the Risen Jesus, alive and present among us, the true teacher of life; his intercession will obtain serenity and peace and his teaching will encourage you in your daily journey towards holiness.
FULL TEXT and Image SHARE from Vatican.va (Unofficial Translation)