Pope Francis led the traditional end of the year celebration of Vespers followed by the recitation of the Te Deum, the Church’s solemn chant of Thanksgiving for the past year. The celebration on New Year's Eve took place in Saint Peter's Basilica.
In his homily, the Pope remembered Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died earlier in the morning, recalling his great kindness, witness of faith and prayer.
“And speaking of kindness, at this moment, my thought naturally goes to dear Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who left us this morning. We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind. And we feel such gratitude in our hearts: gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished, and above all, for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his recollected life. Only God knows the value and the power of his intercession, of the sacrifices he offered for the good of the Church.”
Kindness marked the key word in the Pope's homily during this celebration of Evening Prayer of the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. The Pope recalled Mary's "yes" to God and that His will be fulfilled in her "began the slow journey of the gestation of a humanity free from sin and filled with grace and truth, filled with love and faithfulness." The Pope explained...