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Pope begins series on Sacraments during General Audience, starting with Baptism

During his first general audience of the year, Pope Francis talked about the Sacrament of Baptism, the "immersion into the Salvation of Jesus. He said the Baptism was not just a simple rite, or official act from the Church. He then tasked all the pilgrims at St. Peter's Square to "re-awaken" the memory of their Baptism, and find out when they became a part of the Christian family.

He went on to say that Baptisms take place only inside the Church, who is like a mother who births children through this Sacrament. The Pope closed off his remarks by asking the pilgrims to look up the date of their Baptism, and know it as well as the date of their birthday, because it is "a festive day.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH

Dear Brothers and Sisters: 

Today we begin a series of catecheses on the sacraments, starting with baptism. The Second Vatican Council tells us that the Church herself is a "sacrament", a grace-filled sign which makes Christ's saving work present in history, through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The first of the Church's seven sacraments, baptism gives us new birth in Christ, makes us sharers in the mystery of his death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God's children and members of his Church. 

Let us not forget the great gift we have received. Our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring Godâ??s redeeming love to all, particularly the poor, in whom we see the face of Christ. 

Our baptism has also given us a share in the Church's mission of evangelization; as disciples, we are also missionaries. As we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord this Sunday, let us ask him to renew in us the grace of our baptism and to make us, with all our brothers and sisters, true children of God and living members of his body, the Church.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today's Audience, including those from Ausralia, Haiti and the United States of America.  Upon you and your families I invoke God's blessings of joy and peace!