Pope Francis baptises Irish baby girl

Polly Rose took excitement in her stride

Last weekend an Irish baby girl was among 32 children christened by Pope Francis during a Mass held in the Sistine Chapel.

Polly Rose Cabrera, daughter of Emer McCarthy Cabrera from Wicklow and Raul Cabrera from Peru, who both work with Vatican Radio, took the excitement of the event in her stride according to her mother.

“It was incredible to be in such awe inspiring surroundings and to have Pope Francis baptising our baby,” Emer said. “But regardless of that I think a baptism is moving for every parent because it marks a moment, the beginning of change in any parent’s life. So it was a very emotional moment but the baby took it in her stride. There were no tears and the Pope shook her hand.”

Family atmosphere

Traditionally the Pope baptises children born to Vatican employees between four weeks and four months old, but last weekend Pope Francis allowed older children so there was a bigger group than normal at the ceremony for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. “The Sistine Chapel was full and there was a real family atmosphere with mothers helping each other to settle their babies,” Emer said. “The Hall of Benedictions was converted into a special baby changing room for the day, with a Swiss guard on duty outside making sure parents were not disturbed.”

“It was also wonderful that friends and family were able to watch the live broadcast online and we received messages of congratulations from as far as Slovakia, Germany and Latin America,” she said.

In a short homily, Pope Francis described the children as a link in the chain of faith and encouraged mothers not to be reluctant to breast feed during the ceremony.

“Today the choir is singing; but the most beautiful choir is that of the children, who are making noise… Some cry because they are not comfortable, or because they are hungry: if they are hungry, moms, give them something to eat, calmly, because they are the central figures, the protagonists [of this celebration],” he said.