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At first Christmas as pope, Francis urges openness to God

Published on Dec 25, 2013 9:05 AM
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Pope Francis leads a Christmas Eve mass at St Peter's Basilica to mark the nativity of Jesus Christ, on Dec 24, 2013 at the Vatican. Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, on Tuesday urged people to shun pride and selfishness and open up their hearts to God and their fellow man. -- PHOTO: AFP

VATICAN CITY (REUTERS) - Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, on Tuesday urged people to shun pride and selfishness and open up their hearts to God and their fellow man.

Pope Francis, who last March became the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, celebrated a solemn Christmas Eve Mass for some 10,000 people in a packed St. Peter's Basilica as hundreds of others watched on mega-screens in the square outside.

The great bells of the basilica, the same that rang to announce his election on March 13, sounded when the Sistine Chapel Choir intoned the Gloria, a prayer which starts with the words the Bible says angels sang on the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Pope Francis delivered a short homily that was as simple as his white vestments: Man can choose between darkness and light.

 
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