The Year of Faith came to a close with a Papal Mass in St. Peter's Square. Thousands came out to the Vatican to celebrate and the Pope highlighted that Christians should always have Christ at the center of their lives.
"This way our thoughts will be Christian thoughts, thoughts of Christ. Our works will be Christian works based on Christ.”
The Pope thanked Benedict XVI, who launched the initiative, as well as the 250 patriarchs, bishops and priests who took part in the closing Mass.
Reflecting on Sunday's Gospel, the Pope said Jesus speaks of forgiveness and not condemnation. In fact, during the Mass, 50 priests were available to administer Confession along the Square. He explained that just like Jesus forgave the thief who was crucified next to Him, He forgives all sinners. He also asked everyone to say a special prayer.
"Tell our Lord, 'Jesus remember me. I want to be good, but I don't have the strength. I can't because I'm a sinner, but Jesus please remember me. You can remember me because You are the center of it all.'”
The relics of St. Peter were placed right next to the altar, marking the first time they've been displayed publicly. They include eight bone fragments of about three centimeters each. At the end of his homily, Pope Francis held it as he prayed.
The Pope also gave a group a copy of his first apostolic exhortation. Among the recipients was ROME REPORTS director, Javier Martinez-Brocal. The document summarizes the Synod on the New Evangelization, and how it should move forward.
The year of Faith was launched on October 2012 to encourage Catholics to deepen their understanding of their faith to encourage them to share it with others.