For 2,000 years, since Jesus descended into the waters of the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist, the river has been a pilgrimage site for Christians from around the world. And on the banks of that river, for the past 24 years, on the second Friday of January, the Catholic community in the region has undertaken a pilgrimage, gathering around its patriarch, to celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
Pope Francis baptized babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday and encouraged parents to teach their children to celebrate their baptism anniversary each year.
In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said that God’s justice is often misunderstood as mere punishment when in reality it “raises us up” by “freeing us from the snares of evil.”
The pope baptized 16 babies in the Sistine Chapel.
For the first time in over 54 years, the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land were able to offer Mass on their property at the site of Christ’s baptism, located in the West Bank.