The baby who escaped from his parents at baptism to gaze at the Sistine Chapel

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Little Romeo was baptized in the chamber of heaven: the Sistine Chapel, where popes are elected and where thousands of tourists pass every day to contemplate the wonders created by Michelangelo.

Once a year this room is closed to the public and filled with families. They are Vatican employees whose children the pope baptize. This year, Pope Francis baptized 16 little ones. Among them was the son of this Argentinean couple.

POPE FRANCIS
Romeo, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Maria and Ezequiel have been living in Italy for several years. They work for Scholas, the educational project that Pope Francis promotes around the world.

Although they have interacted with the Argentine pope on other occasions, they emphasized that it was overwhelming to experience such a familiar moment like a baptism, in such a solemn setting as the Sistine Chapel.

EZEQUIEL DEL CORRAL
Father of Romeo

To have someone like that baptize your child is the most beautiful thing. It's not about him being the pope, it's about him being this pope.

The pope officiates this ceremony in Italian, but for this couple he made an exception: he addressed them in Spanish. Amidst the baby's cries, they were unable to hear him and responded as instructed.

EZEQUIEL DEL CORRAL
Father of Romeo

Then he challenged us on why we had answered him in Italian: “Why are you answering me in Italian if I said it in Spanish,” but it is very nice to think about the detail and the capacity he has to be always understanding everything he is living, in what context, with whom. That memory, that closeness and that capacity to be in the midst of the greatest things, with attention to the smallest.

During the ceremony, Romeo escaped from his parents and stood contemplating the Chapel.

MARÍA PAZ JURADO
Mother of Romeo

It was a child being a child in that context and in that majestic, formal place.

The parents tried to keep their babies calm, but Pope Francis reminded them that the children should feel at home.

POPE FRANCIS
If they cry, for the moment they are silent but it is enough that one of them gives the note to start “the concert,” let them cry. If they are hungry, feed them, quietly, here.

MARÍA PAZ JURADO
Mother of Romeo

I will keep that beautiful message, which was also a great relief for me as a mother, because I was so nervous about how my child, a one and a half year old, would behave.

At the end of the baptism, Pope Francis gave the families a candle and told them to light it when they experience difficult moments and to ask God for peace to be able to face them.

JRB/PA
TR: AT

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