Pope welcomes 26 babies into church, tells moms to nurse

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Pope Baptizes 26 Babies in Celebration of Jesus' Baptism

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Some slept, some squirmed, some smiled and some screamed. And a few were named Francesco or Francesca.

Pope Francis welcomed 13 boys and 13 girls into the Catholic Church on Sunday during the annual ceremony that marks the day in the liturgical calendar when Jesus was baptized.

Gurgles and wails nearly drowned out the organ and choir, echoing off the stone floors and frescoed walls of the Sistine Chapel.

In his off-the-cuff and deliberately brief homily, Francis urged the parents to teach their children the faith. And as he has done in previous years, he told the mothers to go ahead and nurse their hungry babes.

He said: "One bit of advice to the moms: When a baby cries because he's hungry, feed him. Feel free to feed him here."

Related: Look inside Pope Francis' New Years mass:

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Pope's new year mass
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Pope welcomes 26 babies into church, tells moms to nurse
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. . The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. . The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis asperses incense as he celebrates a mass after opening the Holy door of the St. Mary Major's Basilica in Rome, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends the opening of the Holy Door at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. . The Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God. Pope Francis chose the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God to open the Holy Door. Since the Jubilee Year of 1500, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis leads a mass at St Mary Major basilica where he opened a 'Holy Door' as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, on January 1, 2016 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis leads a mass at St Mary Major basilica where he opened a 'Holy Door' as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, on January 1, 2016 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis opens the Holy door of the St. Mary Major's Basilica as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, on January 1, 2016 in Rome. AFP PHOTO POOL / GREGORIO BORGIA / AFP / POOL / GREGORIO BORGIA (Photo credit should read GREGORIO BORGIA/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends a mass on the World Peace Day at the St. Peter's Basilica on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the new year's day dedicated to the Mother of God, the Pontiff open this afternoon the Holy Door of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis arrives at the St. Peter's Basilica for a mass on the World Peace Day on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the new year's day dedicated to the Mother of God, the Pontiff open this afternoon the Holy Door of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller arrives at the St. Peter's Basilica for a mass on the World Peace Day on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the new year's day dedicated to the Mother of God, the Pontiff open this afternoon the Holy Door of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis celebrates a mass after opening the Holy door of the St. Mary Major's Basilica in Rome, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis kisses the Baby Jesus as he arrives at the St. Peter's Basilica for a mass on the World Peace Day on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the new year's day dedicated to the Mother of God, the Pontiff open this afternoon the Holy Door of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 01: Pope Francis attends a mass on the World Peace Day at the St. Peter's Basilica on January 1, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the new year's day dedicated to the Mother of God, the Pontiff open this afternoon the Holy Door of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis asperses incense as he celebrates a mass after opening the Holy door of the St. Mary Major's Basilica in Rome, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis leads a mass at St Mary Major basilica where he opened a 'Holy Door' as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, on January 1, 2016 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis celebrates a mass after opening the Holy Door of the St. Mary Major's Basilica in Rome, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis delivers his blessing from his studio's window during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Welcoming the new year Friday, Pope Francis called for an end to the ââarrogance of the powerfulââ relegating the weak to squalid outskirts of society and to the ââfalse neutralityââ to conflicts, hunger and persecution triggering a sometimes-deadly exodus of refugees. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a New Year mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis delivers his message as he celebrates a New Year mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds up the book of the Gospels as he celebrates a New Year mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis, background center, celebrates a New Year mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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