Pope Francis Calls for Peace and Unity While Praising Late Benedict XVI
Tens of thousands of believers participated in the Angelus prayer with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. The pope prayed for the late Benedict XVI. and called for more good deeds to be done in the new year.
“In these hours, we call on you for intercession – especially for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left this world yesterday morning”.
The people in St. Peter’s Square reacted to the mention of Benedict with prolonged applause. Francis paid tribute to the deceased as a man of excellent service to the Catholic Church. He said, “We all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanksgiving to God for the gift of this faithful minister of the gospel and the church.”
In the morning, the pope had deviated from the usual liturgy in the New Year’s mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and had mentioned Benedict in his sermon.
“Today, we entrust to the Holy Mother the beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. May she accompany him in his transition from this world to God,” said Francis.
Several thousand believers and more than 200 cardinals, bishops and priests attended the mass, which is also World Peace Day for the Vatican. Many of those present had bought their tickets for the mass in St. Peter’s Basilica weeks ago.
On New Year’s Day, Francis called on people to pull themselves together to do good in the new year, even if this means giving up habits and comforts.
As in his Christmas sermons, Francis also recalled the wars in the world and asked for prayers for the suffering children and all people who, the pope said, lived in “misery and fear” due to war.