The pope prayed for the Lebanese people to overcome their current political crisis and to “rediscover their vocation to be a message of freedom and harmonious coexistence for all.” He remembered also Latin America, where he said many nations are experiencing a time of social and political upheaval.
Pope Francis asked for God’s protection for all people who are forced to emigrate due to injustice who endure “unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps.”
He prayed for the people of Africa, asking Christ to console those who suffer from violence, natural disasters, and disease.
“May he bring peace to those living in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, torn by continuing conflicts,” the pope said. “And may he bring comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”
Pope Francis also issued a special Christmas message for South Sudan together with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Rev. John Chalmers, the former moderator of the Scottish Presbyterian Church:
“We wish to extend to you and to all the people of South Sudan our best wishes for your peace and prosperity, and to assure you of our spiritual closeness as you strive for a swift implementation of the Peace Agreements,” states the message sent to South Sudan’s political leaders, who came to the Vatican for a peacebuilding retreat in April.
“May the Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, enlighten you and guide your steps in the way of goodness and truth, and bring to fulfilment our desire to visit your beloved country,” the message states.
After the pope’s Christmas blessing, the great bell of St. Peter’s Basilica rang out in celebration of Christ’s birth. The campanone bell is only rung on the solemnities of Christmas, Easter, and the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
“May Emmanuel bring light to all the suffering members of our human family. May he soften our often stony and self-centred hearts, and make them channels of his love,” the pope prayed.
Pope Francis called on the 55,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to practice charity and care for the most vulnerable.
“Through our frail hands, may he clothe those who have nothing to wear, give bread to the hungry and heal the sick. Through our friendship, such as it is, may he draw close to the elderly and the lonely, to migrants and the marginalized,” he said.
“On this joyful Christmas Day, may he bring his tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world,” Pope Francis said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.