Thousands of pilgrims were in St. Peter's Square to hear Pope Francis' third "Urbi et Orbi” Christmas blessing. Like the previous two, this one included the Pope's personal touch.
"Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!"
While Christmas is one of the most joyful days in Christianity, the Pope didn't fail to acknowledge the challenges that humanity faces. Those suffering from war, especially refugees, were on his mind.
"My thoughts also turn to those affected by brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako and Tunis. May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade. Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives."
It was a beautiful scene in St. Peter's Square, with the Vatican's Christmas tree and Nativity scene prominently displaced, and thousands of pilgrims there to get a chance to see the Pope.