ROME — Pope Francis has suspended his annual celebration of baptisms in the Vatican this January citing concerns over the coronavirus.
“Due to the health situation, as a precaution, this year the traditional baptism of children presided over by the Holy Father in the Sistine Chapel on the Sunday of the Baptism of the Lord will not be celebrated,” reads a statement from the Holy See Press Office.
The communiqué adds that baptisms will be celebrated in the children’s respective parishes.
The pope traditionally baptizes a group of children each year on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by His cousin, St. John the Baptist. The feast is celebrated yearly on the first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 6).
Last January, Pope Francis baptized 32 babies in the Sistine Chapel, all of whom were children of Vatican employees and diplomats