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Pope welcomes the New Year in Paul VI Hall

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, In this first Audience of the New Year, on the eve of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, I offer my prayerful best wishes to you and your families. The Church’s celebration of these days of Christmas is not only a remembrance of things past, but a joyful experience of Christ’s enduring presence in our lives and in our world. In Jesus, the Word Incarnate, our salvation is accomplished in the flesh. Jesus’ humbling of himself, beginning with his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary, will find its fullest expression in the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection. Our appreciation of the deep bond uniting the Incarnation and the Redemption naturally draws us from the contemplation of the Child Jesus in the Crib to the adoration of his real presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The liturgical celebrations of this holy season, from Christmas through the Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord, challenge us to be completely transformed by the Son of God who became man so that we might attain our ultimate human fulfilment by sharing in his glorious divine life. I am pleased to greet the students and professors from the University of Helsinki. My warm greetings also go to the seminarians of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace today and throughout the coming year!"