World’s Christians celebrate Christmas

World’s Christians celebrate Christmas

World’s Christians celebrate Christmas

Written by Staff Writer

25 Dec, 2015 | 7:00 am

Across the world, Christians have begun marking Christmas with services, with Pope Francis holding midnight mass at the Vatican.

Pope Francis led the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas on Thursday (December 24), urging those “intoxicated” by possessions and superficial appearances to return to the essential values of life.

Celebrating a Christmas eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis, whose nearly three-year-old papacy has been marked by calls for sobriety and compassion for the less fortunate, said Christmas was the time to “once more discover who we are”.

He said everyone should allow the simplicity of the child Jesus, born into poverty in a manger despite his divinity, to infuse their spirit and inspire their lives.

The service for about 10,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica started with a long chant in Latin, known as the Kalenda, the traditional proclamation of the birth of Jesus.

The great bells of St. Peter’s then rang out and the pope, dressed in white vestments, kissed a statue of the infant Jesus to start the solemn Mass.

The pope said child Jesus was calling on everyone to rethink the way they treat others.

On Christmas day, Francis will deliver the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Square, from where he first appeared to the world after his election on March 13, 2013.

Meanwhile in the holy city of Bethlehem, the West Bank town where it is believed that Jesus was born, events have been overshadowed by recent violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

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