Prayer Service
Wadi Al-Kharrar, Jordan

21 March 2000

Prayer of the Holy Father


Let us pause in contemplation
on the banks of the Jordan,
this sacred place in the history of salvation.
Here the Chosen People
passed over to the Promised Land;
here John performed his baptism of repentance;
here the holy Theophany,
the manifestation of the Trinity,
took place at the baptism of Jesus.
As we recall that event with gratitude,
let us call to mind our own baptism
and bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Blessed are you, Lord, all-powerful God,
in Christ, the living water of salvation,
you have granted us every blessing
and made of us a new creation.

Almighty Father,
in the holy signs of our faith
you renew the great events
of creation and redemption.

Bless + this water
and grant that all who are reborn in baptism
may be witnesses and heralds of the Easter
which is constantly renewed in your Church.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


In those days, the word of God was spoken to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went about the entire region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance which led to the forgiveness of sins, as is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

"A herald’s voice in the desert, crying, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God’". The people were full of anticipation, wondering in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. John answered them all by saying: "I am baptizing you in water, but there is one to come who is mightier than I. I am not fit to loosen his sandal strap. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.

When all the people were baptized, and Jesus was at prayer after likewise being baptized, the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in visible form like a dove. A voice from heaven was heard to say, 'You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests".

A deacon brings some of the blessed water to the Holy Father, who sprinkles the assembly and says:

Let this water call to mind our baptism into Christ, who has redeemed us by his death and resurrection.

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