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Pope Francis celebrates first Christmas Eve midnight mass at St Peter's Basilica


Vatican

Pope Francis celebrates first Christmas Eve midnight mass at St Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis has celebrated his first Christmas Eve midnight mass at St Peter’s in the Vatican.

He was assisted by more than 300 cardinals, bishops and priests.

Around ten thousand people packed the basilica, and hundreds of others watched outside.

In his homily, Pope Francis urged people to lead humble lives.

“If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, and the constant pursuit of self interest, then darkness falls within and around us,” he said.

In a break with tradition, Pope Francis himself performed a task usually given to an aide.

He carried a figurine of the baby Jesus to the altar at the start of the mass.

The statue of Jesus was then placed in the manger of a life-size nativity scene behind the altar.

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