December 31, 2011. (Romereports.com)
In December, the Pope celebrated a Mass in Spanish at St. Peter's
Basilica to commemorate the 200th anniversary of independence in Latin
. It was a beautiful Mass held with music that included Creole, a
truly rare sight at the Vatican.
The pope also announced that in the spring of 2012 he would travel to Mexico
.Benedict XVI“I have the intention to undertake an apostolic journey before Easter to Mexico and Cuba.”
In December this impressive gift from Ukraine
arrived in St. Peter's Square, weighing nearly five tons and measuring 98 feet tall. During a ceremony with Slavic Christmas carols, a child was given the honor of lighting the tree for the pope. Arch. Sviatoslav Shevchuk
Major Archbishop, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church“For us, this event here in St. Peter's Square is very important, because Ukraine symbolizes unity and peace. These are the fundamental values that the Church proclaims to the world from the birth of Jesus.”
A few days before Christmas, the pope visited the Rebibbia prison in Rome
. There he was received by 300 prisoners. He then held a special question and answer session with the group of inmates. Federico“You are the pope to all of us. Please make sure that we are not stripped of dignity, or freedom. Why is it assumed that to be a prisoner is to be excluded forever?”
“I'd like to ask you to let us hold onto you with our suffering and that of our family, like an electric cable that we communicate with to our Lord. I love you.”
“Prisoners are human beings who deserve, despite their crime, to be treated with respect and dignity.”
It was one of the most memorable moments of 2011. The meeting had a special significance for the pope, who stopped to speak with many of the prisoners.