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Pope Francis presides over his first Christmas Eve mass as pontiff

Updated: 2013-12-26 AM 6:29:01 (KST)
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On Christmas Day, churches across Korea welcomed the birth of Jesus. with religious services.

"I wish you all had a grateful and joyful morning, thanking God for His love."

At Myeong-dong Cathedral, the main Catholic church in central Seoul, Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung presided over a Christmas mass at noon attended by hundreds of people.
He stressed simplicity and humility, in the way of Jesus, and urged people to try and understand other people's pain.

"I hope you will all be more humble and lower yourselves to embrace the pain of the world."

He also called on people to share God's love with their neighbors, including those in North Korea.

Over at the Vatican, Pope Francis presided over his first Christmas Eve mass since becoming the leader of over the world's one.two billion Catholics in March.
Some ten-thousand people and more than three-hundred cardinals, bishops and priests attended the mass at St. Peter's Basilica to celebrate Jesus's birth.
The 77-year-old pope urged people to stop focusing on themselves and open up their hearts to God and their neighbors.

"If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us. Do not be afraid Our Father is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us."

Pope Francis also delivered a message of hope, especially for those who remain in darkness in the world, that they will see light,.. citing a famous Bible quote from the book of Isaiah.
The first non-European pontiff in 13-hundred years will also lead a year-end mass at the basilica, followed by a New Year's mass next week.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.

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