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The Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

Pope Urges Rediscovery of the Sacrament

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

1. We celebrate today the feast of the Baptism of Jesus, an event that the Evangelists consider the beginning of his messianic ministry. Christ's mission, thus inaugurated, will be fulfilled in the paschal mystery in which, with his death and resurrection, he will take away the sin of the world (see John 1:29).

2. The mission of the Christian also begins with baptism. The rediscovery of baptism, through opportune courses of catechesis in adulthood, is therefore a relevant aspect of the new evangelization. To renew in a more mature manner one's own adherence to the faith is the condition for true and full participation in the Eucharistic celebration, which constitutes the culmination of ecclesial life.

3. May Mary Most Holy help those who are reborn "of water and the Spirit" with baptism to make their own life a constant oblation to God in the daily exercise of the commandment of love, thus exercising the common priesthood that is proper to every baptized person.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father pronounced the following greeting:]

In this Sunday of the Lord's baptism, my thoughts go to the children who were baptized in the course of this year. I embrace and bless them. I also bless the godfathers and godmothers and, in particular, the parents of the newly baptized, exhorting all to cultivate in them, by word and example, the seed of divine life arising from the sacrament of baptism.

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