Pope celebrates Christmas Eve at late-night Mass

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has celebrated Christmas Eve with a late-night Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

In his homily, Francis said the birth of Jesus Christ showed the patience, closeness and tenderness of God. The pope said that by becoming a human being, "God made himself small to better encounter us." Francis said people should respond by asking, "Do I allow God to love me?"

Wednesday night's Mass is followed by the pope's traditional Christmas day message "to the city and to the world."

Next week the 78-year-old pontiff will celebrate New Year's Eve vespers and deliver his 2015 greetings a few hours later.

On Jan. 11, Francis will baptize infants in the Sistine Chapel and a day later board a plane for a weeklong trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.


%@AP Links

185-r-05-(Pope Francis, opening Vatican Christmas Eve Mass)--Sound of Pope Francis opening the Vatican's Christmas Eve Mass in Latin with sign of the cross and wish for peace. (24 Dec 2014)

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186-a-07-(Celebrant reading from the Bible's book of Titus, at Vatican Christmas Eve Mass)-"whole human race"-Sound of a celebrant reading from the Bible's book of Titus at the Vatican's Christmas Eve Mass. (24 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *186 (12/24/14)££ 00:07 "whole human race"

184-r-16-(Choir singing, at Vatican Christmas Eve Mass)--Sound of choir singing at Vatican Christmas Eve Mass. (24 Dec 2014)

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