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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis prays for peace in world in his first Mass of 2018

The pope began the new year with this Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. He recalled that Catholics celebrate the Feast of “Holy Mary, Mother of God” on the first day of the year and gave a deep homily about the Mother of Jesus. 

Pope Francis reminded that God embodied Himself not only to be with us, but also to be like us.

“From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity. To call Mary the Mother of God reminds us of this: God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb.”

The pope said despite all of life's problems and difficulties, no one or anything can take away the assurance that every man and woman is a child of God and that God loves him or her. Thus, the Holy Father encouraged Christians to dedicate a few moments of silence each day to meditate on this reality. 

“To set aside a moment of silence each day to be with God is to 'keep' our soul; it is to 'keep' our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.”

In addition, the pope asked the Blessed Mother to safeguard people's hearts, so they don't lose peace. 

These three children, the “Star Singers” celebrating a German tradition, brought up the offerings. The singers go from house to house bestowing blessings, singing carols and asking for help for the poor. 

As is tradition, before leaving, Pope Francis kissed the figure of baby Jesus in the basilica.

It was the World Day of Peace, which was dedicated this year to migrants and refugees. To commemorate, the pope published this dramatic photo. It's of a child in the aftermath of the Nagasaki atomic bomb who waits his turn at the crematorium to hand over his brother's corpse.

On the backside, along with his signature, Pope Francis wrote the words “...the outcome of war.”