The babies whom the Pope baptizes in the annual January rite are usually the children of Vatican employees, as was to be the case this year. The Pope also traditionally administers the sacraments of Christian initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion — to a group of adult converts in St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Saturday every year. This event became the focus of controversy in 2008 after one of the baptized, Egyptian-born journalist Magdi Allam, publicly and emphatically repudiated his former Islamic faith.
Who will receive Communion from Pope Benedict at papal Masses in Rome and elsewhere is decided by the Pope’s master of liturgical ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini. During papal trips, prominent or active members of the local churches are usually among those chosen. Though parents around the world have asked, Pope Benedict has never celebrated a Mass specifically for a group of children receiving their First Communion, but a few children have received their First Communion from him at Mass during papal trips. The Pope gives Communion at the Mass he celebrates every morning in his private chapel.
Pope Benedict heard the individual confessions of young people in St. Peter’s during Lent in 2007 and 2008, then again at World Youth Day in Madrid in August 2011.
Pope Benedict confirmed a group of young people attending World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.
While this sacrament is actually administered by the spouses themselves, the Church normally requires Catholics to marry in the presence of a priest or deacon. Pope Benedict has not celebrated a marriage ceremony as Pope.
Pope Benedict ordains priests in St. Peter’s Basilica every year on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Good Shepherd Sunday (it will fall on April 21 this year). Since his election as Pope, he has also ordained 22 bishops, most recently on January 6, when he ordained four new prelates including Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his longtime personal secretary, now also prefect of the papal household.
Anointing of the Sick:
The Holy Father has administered this sacrament in public only once since his election, to 10 sick pilgrims at the shrine of Lourdes in southwestern France in 2008.