In a gesture of closeness to those who lost loved ones and homes following several devastating earthquakes, Pope Francis baptised 13 babies from central Italy.
The pope celebrated the sacrament of baptism on 14th January in a private ceremony in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
The Vatican said that all of the babies baptised by the pope were born after last year’s earthquakes and that “the youngest of the babies was 5 days old.”
The central Italian region – particularly the towns of Amatrice, Rieti, Accumoli, and Pescara del Tronto – were rocked by a 6.2 magnitude quake on 24th August 2016.
Amatrice was the hardest-hit town, accounting for 234 of the estimated 290 deaths, according to the Italian Civil Protection office.
Pope Francis visited the hardest-hit areas on 4th October and then a powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Norcia in the early morning of 30th October, reducing the Basilica of St Benedict to rubble.
Picture: Pope Francis celebrates the baptism of 13 babies from earthquake zones in Italy in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican on 14th January. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout).