pope-flowers-ReutersPope Francis baptized 33 children on Sunday morning, the day that Christians celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In his homily, the Pope told parents to teach their children that “you cannot be a Christian outside the Church, you cannot follow Jesus Christ without the Church, because the Church is mother, and makes us grow in love for Jesus Christ.” In saying this, the Pope was probably referring to the famous statement by Saint Cyprian, the 3rd-century Bishop of Carthage, who said: “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.” This also echoes the Catholic teaching that “the Church is the mother of all believers.” This was Francis’ second celebration of baptism since his election as pope, and he baptized 20 little girls and 13 boys, including a pair of twins. The 33 children sons and daughters of Vatican employees, and the baptism took place in the Sistine Chapel, where the cardinals gather in conclave to elect a new pope. Francis, in fact, made constant reference to parenting in his homily, referring both to God and to the Church. He said that God, “as a good father and a good mother, wants to give good things to his children.” And the food He gives them “is his Word,” the Pope said. More