Pope Francis presides the traditional year-end Vespers and the singing of the Te Deum hymn on Tuesday in thanksgiving for gifts received over the past year.
The solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica began at
5:00 p.m. Rome time.
The Te Deum is a hymn of praise that dates
from early Christian times.
In Latin, the hymn’s words: “Te Deum
laudamus” can be translated "Thee, O God, we praise".
ceremony will be Pope Francis’ last official event of the year 2013 and
his first celebration as Pontiff of Vespers for the Solemnity of the
Mother of God, to whom the New Year is dedicated.
The event will be
webcast live on Vatican Radio.
After the evening Vespers, the
Pope will make a brief visit to the life-sized Nativity scene below the
obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square. This year’s scene, entitled
“Francis 1223- Francis 2013” recalls the very first Nativity scene
created 790 years ago by St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis’ namesake.
The scene in St. Peter’s square this year was crafted by artisans from
the southern Italian city of Naples, famous for its traditional
On Wednesday January 1st in St.
Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father will preside a morning liturgy marking
the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
Following the mass, at noon,
Pope Francis will greet the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and together
with them pray the Angelus.