Vatican City, Dec 31, 2020 / 10:20 am
Pope Francis explained Thursday why the Catholic Church gives thanks to God at the close of a calendar year, even years that have been marked by tragedy, such as 2020's coronavirus pandemic.
In a homily read by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re Dec. 31, Pope Francis said "tonight we give space to thanks for the year that is drawing to a close. 'We praise you, God, we proclaim you Lord…'"
Cardinal Re delivered the pope's homily at the Vatican's First Vespers liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica. Vespers, also known as Evening Prayer, is part of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Due to sciatic pain, Pope Francis did not attend the prayer service, which included Eucharistic adoration and benediction, and the singing of the "Te Deum," a Latin hymn of thanksgiving from the early Church.