In his first general audience of 2015, Pope Francis talked about the role of mothers, both in society and in the Church.
He described mothers as the antidote of self-centeredness, adding that they don't always get the support they need or deserve.
"They are not always listened to or helped in every day life. On the contrary, they are often exploited because of their availability. They are not even fully appreciated by the Christian community.”
Motherhood, he said is much more than just childbearing. It's about sacrifice and generosity. He also referenced late Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was shot to death in 1980. The late Archbishop described the role of women as the 'martyrdom of mothers.'
"They offer themselves completely, without any fuss. They do this in silence and in prayer as they go about their daily responsibilities. Little by little, they give their lives.”
The Pope then added that the Church is also a mother. He called on all pilgrims to give a round of applause to mothers, as a sign of gratitude.
"We greet all the mothers here with a loud round of applause.”
At the end of the general audience, there was also some color, as members of the Golden Circus put on a little show to start off the year on a happy note.