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Remember the hope of your Baptism, urges Pope

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Pope Francis today urged the faithful to remember the hope of their baptism in a message tailored to discussion of that sacrament in today's weekly Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square. “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 God’s redeeming love to all,” the Pope said. The Holy Father further announced that today's General Audience would begin a new series of public teachings by him each week on the sacraments, with a papal reflection to be expected on each of the seven sacraments of the Church, beginning today with baptism. “The Second Vatican Council tells us that the Church herself is a ‘sacrament,’” Francis reflected, “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, it 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,” said the Pope. “Baptism is the sacrament on which our faith is founded and we are living members of Christ and of his Church, not just a simple rite or a formal act.”

“For Him, we dive into the inexhaustible source of life; we come from the death of Jesus. So we can live a new life of communion with God, and with our brothers.” Because many of the world's Catholics are baptized as infants, the Holy Father said that many people who “don't have the slightest memory of this sacrament,” all those who do receive it, whether as children or adults are “called to live each day aspiring to the vocation that we receive in Him.”

“If we follow Jesus and remain in the Church, with our limits and our fragilities, and sins…we become new creatures and we are clothed in Christ,” Francis taught. “Our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’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,” the Pope pointed out. “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.”

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