(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 8 - Baptism is more than a
mere "formality" but is a "gift" that gives a person "a new
birth in Christ," Pope Francis said during his weekly audience
Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.
It is important to remember that baptism "is not a mere
formality," said Francis.
He noted that baptism is one of the Catholic Church's seven
sacraments, adding "it gives us new birth in Christ, 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".
The pope's remarks were the first in a series of
catecheses, or Catholic religious teachings, that he plans to
deliver on the sacraments, Vatican Radio reported.
The pope said that baptism is a gift that also brings
"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," said
"Our baptism has also given us a share in the Church's
mission of evangelization; as disciples, we are also