(AP) VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI is baptizing 16 babies in the splendor of the Sistine Chapel.
Some of the infants looked at him wide-eyed after he poured water from a golden shell-shaped dish over their forehead, as Benedict administered the sacrament Sunday, welcoming them formally by name into the Catholic church. A few babies flailed their arms when brought up to the pontiff, but none cried in front of him. Benedict told their parents and godparents in his homily that educating children is “very challenging,” and urged them to pray. He said he hoped the children would grow up with “wisdom and grace.” The ceremony in the chapel frescoed by Michelangelo and where popes are elected is part of the Vatican’s Christmas period traditions.