Pope celebrates Christmas Eve at late-night Mass
VATICAN CITY - 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.
IMAGE: Pope Francis / Facebook