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Pope's general audience of Dec. 18



December 18, 2013 - Since this week’s general audience was the last before Christmas, Pope Francis delivered a catechesis on Christmas. Wednesday’s general audience offers pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome the chance to see and hear the Pope, and also receive his blessing. The general audience of Dec. 18 was held in the open, in the chill air of Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke, in several languages.
Listen: RealAudioMP3

Basing himself on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian - summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.

Listen: RealAudioMP3
… Dear Brothers and Sisters, in these last days of Advent we prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a feast of joyful hope, for God has become one with us in the person of his Son, true God and true man. He showed his love for us by becoming part of our world, with all its conflicts, its suffering and its poverty. Jesus is truly Emmanuel: God among us. This is the great “gift” which he brings: a divine love which heals and transforms our hearts, overcoming all uncertainty and pessimism. Our joyful contemplation of the mystery of Christmas should make us realize that, as God has become one of us, we too are called to become like God: humble, close to others, especially the poor, and ever attentive to their needs. This Christmas, let us ask Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, to help us see in our neighbour the face of Jesus, God made man. May we be in this world a ray of that light which shone forth from Bethlehem, bringing the joy and peace to the hearts of all men and women.

Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.

Listen: RealAudioMP3
… I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience including those from England, Australia and the United States. I thank the members of “Up with People” for their musical entertainment. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace! (BLESSING)




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