ROME — Among the 26 infants lucky enough to be baptized by the pontiff Sunday on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord was Arianna Francesca Censoni, the daughter of Alessio Censoni, a security official in the Vatican museums, and his wife, Rita Cricenti Censoni.
Although Arianna won’t remember what happened as she was welcomed to the Catholic Church by none other than the successor of Peter himself, for her father, it was an unforgettable event.
“For me, it’s a great honor,” Alessio Censoni said. “Being a Catholic Christian, it’s a great emotion to be in the Sistine Chapel with the Holy Father. For my daughter, it’s a privilege to have been baptized by him.”
Yet for Censoni, who’s been working in the Vatican museums since the year 2000, it’s not about the who, but the what.
“Something really important, from the religious point of view, happened today,” he told Crux at Rome’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, where he and his wife of six years held a small reception after the baptism for about 30 people, including family and friends.
“My daughter was baptized, and this is the main element of today,” he said, meaning that she has begun the life of faith.
That said, Censoni acknowledged that it’s an “honor” for her to have been personally baptized by the pope, one he hopes she’ll appreciate when she grows up.
Arianna has an older sister, Elisa, born in 2010. Fortunately, there will be no jealousy between them over baptism memories: Elisa, too, was baptized by a pope; in her case, Benedict XVI.
Asked about any palpable differences between the two ceremonies, Censoni said that there weren’t any, at least any that struck him at the time.
“With the emotion, it’s hard to pay attention to every detail,” he said.