2016-12-31 18:39:00

Pope Francis celebrates First Vespers in St Peter's Basilica

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated First Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God.

In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on a passage from St Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

These words, the Pope said, “introduce us to God’s plan for us: He wants us to live as His sons and daughters.” Pope Francis said the “logic of the manger” is a logic of “encounter and closeness” that leaves no room for exclusion and division.

Pope Francis invited us all “to contemplate how God has been present throughout this year and to remind ourselves that every age, every moment is the bearer of graces and blessings.”

The ceremony also included the chanting of the Te Deum, traditionally sung at the end of the civil year in Thanksgiving for the blessings of the year.

Following the liturgy, Pope Francis made his way outside the Basilica to the larger-than-life Nativity Scene on display in St Peter’s Square. After spending a few moments in silent prayer, the Holy Father enjoyed a selection of traditional Christmas hymns and carols, and had the opportunity to greet members of the faithful gathered in the Square.

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