No handshaking for the greeting of peace, no preparation of gifts: under Corona conditions Pope Francis celebrated the traditional Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. At the Mass on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ, the head of the Catholic Church recalled charity.
“Insatiably we want more and so we rush to the many feeding places of vanity, forgetting the manger of Bethlehem,” he said Thursday evening at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Referring to the Christmas story, Francis added in his homily that this manger was poor in everything but rich in love, teaching that the nourishment of life is to let oneself be loved by God and to love others. The pontiff also exhorted that he should not use his lifetime to feel sorry for himself, but to “console the tears of those who suffer.”
In the Corona year, Christmas Mass had to be moved up to 7:30 p.m. because of stricter Corona rules in Italy for the holidays, including curfew restrictions from 10 p.m. onward. With a little more than 100 faithful, fewer people celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica than usual. In the pews, the faithful stood at a significant distance from each other and wore masks.
The framework of this year’s Christmas celebrations, limited by Corona, apparently also disgruntled the Pope. According to Vatican insiders, the 84-year-old was saddened by the way Christmas was celebrated this year. In addition, cardinals in Francis’ inner circle had recently been infected with corona.
But the pandemic is also an opportunity to put the meaning of Christmas back in the foreground and not the consumption, Francis had stressed in advance. Christmas would thus become more authentic. During the holidays, we should also think of the lonely and the sick. A phone call, for example, is enough.
The Christmas festivities will continue on Friday, when Francis will give the “Urbi et orbi” blessing in the Benediction Hall of the Apostolic Palace. On this occasion, the Pope will also announce his Christmas message.
- hp, Source: APA, picture: screenshot, orfIII
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