On Christmas, Pope Francis Wishes for Better World - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

On Christmas, Pope Francis Wishes for Better World

Posted:
Pope Francis delivering his first traditional Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on December 26, 2013. (Photo: CBS) Pope Francis delivering his first traditional Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on December 26, 2013. (Photo: CBS)

VATICAN CITY (CBS/AP)- Pope Francis on Christmas Day is wishing for a better world, with peace for the land of Jesus' birth, Syria and Africa, as well as for the dignity of migrants and refugees fleeing misery and conflict.

Delivering his first annual Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address, Francis spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica Wednesday to tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below.

He said he was joining in the song of Christmas angels with all those hoping "for a better world," and with those who "care for others, humbly."

Among places ravaged by conflict, the pontiff singled out Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Iraq. He also prayed for fruitful peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

On Tuesday, Francis celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urging people to shun pride and selfishness and open up their hearts to God and their fellow man. 

Francis, who last March became the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, celebrated the solemn 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. 

On Monday Francis has visited his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, to exchange Christmas greetings. 

Elsewhere, Pilgrims celebrated Christmas Day Wednesday in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born, as candles illuminated the sacred site and the joyous sound of prayer filled its overflowing halls.

This year's turnout has been the largest in years in Bethlehem and the celebrations have been marked by careful optimism amid ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Leaders expressed hope that the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own.

The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, led a prayer for some 1,000 worshippers as bells rang and tourists from around the world flocked to the fourth-century Church of the Nativity complex to see the grotto that is Jesus' traditional birthplace.

"The whole world now is looking at Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus," Twal said in his annual address. "The Holy Land is where Jesus was born in the grotto and we have to reflect this bright picture of Jesus by representing the morals of Jesus, the message of Jesus - the message of love and reconciliation."

Bethlehem is 6 miles south of Jerusalem. Entry to the city is controlled by Israel, which occupied the West Bank in 1967.

Following a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, the numbers of visitors to Bethlehem had plunged, including for Christmas.

But thanks to a period of relative calm, they have been steadily climbing in recent years - and while still below the record levels of the 1990s, got an extra push this year following the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Iskandar Salameh, an 18-year-old Palestinian, said the Christmas spirit was uniting those gathered Wednesday.

"We all feel that Jesus is with us today," he said.

 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • US Forecasters Expect 10-16 Tropical Storms in Active Season

    US Forecasters Expect 10-16 Tropical Storms in Active Season

    May 24, 2018 1:34 PM2018-05-24 17:34:00 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 1:34 PM EDT2018-05-24 17:34:45 GMT
    In this Aug. 28, 2017, file photo rescue boats float on a flooded street as people are evacuated from rising floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey. U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season. In this Aug. 28, 2017, file photo rescue boats float on a flooded street as people are evacuated from rising floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey. U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season.
    In this Aug. 28, 2017, file photo rescue boats float on a flooded street as people are evacuated from rising floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey. U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season.In this Aug. 28, 2017, file photo rescue boats float on a flooded street as people are evacuated from rising floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey. U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season.
    U.S. government forecasters said Thursday that they expect an active Atlantic hurricane season - an announcement that came as odds increased that the first tropical weather system of the year was forming in the Gulf of Mexico.More
    U.S. government forecasters said Thursday that they expect an active Atlantic hurricane season - an announcement that came as odds increased that the first tropical weather system of the year was forming in the Gulf of Mexico.           More
  • Dover Police Arrest Man for Chasing Kids With Pellet Gun

    Dover Police Arrest Man for Chasing Kids With Pellet Gun

    May 24, 2018 12:20 PM2018-05-24 16:20:00 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 1:07 PM EDT2018-05-24 17:07:32 GMT
    Dover police have arrested a man for accused of chasing five kids with a pellet gun that reportedly looked like a handgun.More
    Dover police have arrested a man for accused of chasing five kids with a pellet gun that reportedly looked like a handgun.More
  • In US House Race, Former Navy Commander Targets Former SEAL

    In US House race, former Navy commander targets former SEAL

    Thursday, May 24 2018 12:48 PM EDT2018-05-24 16:48:59 GMT
    Congressman Scott Taylor, R-Va., a Navy SEAL veteran, and Democratic challenger Navy veteran Elaine Luria. (Photo: AP)Congressman Scott Taylor, R-Va., a Navy SEAL veteran, and Democratic challenger Navy veteran Elaine Luria. (Photo: AP)

    Political battle lines are forming in Virginia where a woman who once led a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors wants to capture a Republican congressional seat held by a former Navy SEAL.

    More

    Political battle lines are forming in Virginia where a woman who once led a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors wants to capture a Republican congressional seat held by a former Navy SEAL.

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Boardwalk Barriers Installed in Ocean City

    Boardwalk Barriers Installed in Ocean City

    May 23, 2018 10:36 PM2018-05-24 02:36:00 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 8:47 AM EDT2018-05-24 12:47:26 GMT
    OCEAN CITY, Md--In Worcester County, Ocean City officials are beefing up security this summer by installing new boardwalk barriers. "We're installing barriers to prevent vehicles from accessing the boardwalk, we want to make sure that we are better safe tMore
    Ocean City officials are beefing up security this summer by installing new boardwalk barriers. More
  • Salisbury Woman Convicted of Murder

    Salisbury Woman Convicted of Murder

    May 24, 2018 9:31 AM2018-05-24 13:31:00 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 9:31 AM EDT2018-05-24 13:31:02 GMT
    Brandi UpshurBrandi Upshur
    Brandi UpshurBrandi Upshur
    A Salisbury, Maryland woman has been convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and related charges in connection with last year's killing of a man in Wicomico County.More
    A Salisbury, Maryland woman has been convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and related charges in connection with last year's killing of a man in Wicomico County. More
  • Delaware Lawmakers Propose Bonuses on Top of Pay Raises

    Delaware Lawmakers Propose Bonuses on Top of Pay Raises

    May 23, 2018 5:25 PM2018-05-23 21:25:00 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 8:36 AM EDT2018-05-24 12:36:12 GMT
    Members of the Delaware legislature's budget-writing committee have approved spending $23 million to give state employees $500 bonuses next year, on top of pay raises proposed by Democratic Gov. John Carney.More
    Members of the Delaware legislature's budget-writing committee have approved spending $23 million to give state employees $500 bonuses next year, on top of pay raises proposed by Democratic Gov. John Carney.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices