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Pope Benedict: Parents educators of the faith
The breathtaking frescos of the Sistine Chapel were the backdrop against which Pope Benedict celebrated Mass on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It was also a joyous occasion for a number of parents who witnessed the Pope baptize their children.
The Holy Father, however, also had a message for the parents and godparents of these 16 babies and that was the importance of education.
To educate is a very challenging mission, said the Pope, and it is sometimes difficult for our limited human capacities.
But he added, “education becomes a wonderful mission if it is done in partnership with God, who is the first true educator of every man.
Drawing on Sunday’s Gospel during his Homily, Pope Benedict explained that John the Baptist was a great teacher to the disciples, but he knew their was someone mightier than him who would baptize the people with the Holy Spirit. He witnessed in favour of Jesus.
The Pope went on to describe parents as “channels” through which the lifeblood of the love of God passes. If that channel distances itself from the Lord, said Pope Benedict, then a Mother and Father lose the ability to educate.
The Holy Father also underlined the importance of the Holy Spirit saying, "It is very important for you parents, and also godfathers and godmothers, to believe strongly in the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, and welcome and invoke the Holy Spirit through prayer and the sacraments.”
“Prayer, the Pope continued, is the first condition to educate, because in prayer we give ourselves to God, we entrust our children to Him, who knows them before and better than us, and knows exactly what their true good is. “
With prayer and the Sacraments, said Pope Benedict, parents will be able to discern the most appropriate way to educate their children; when to be tender or firm and when to keep silent or to correct.
At the conclusion of this joyous day for many of those gathered the Holy Father asked the Holy Spirit to come down the new baptised children, so that Jesus can accompany them on their life’s journey. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report