Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pope Francis presides year-end Vespers, Mass for New Year

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".

The 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 Christmas displays.

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.

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