Pope Francis presided over the Te Deum as is customary every New Year's Eve. It is a hymn to thank God for the year that is ending and the good things that have happened.
The Pope called pilgrims to recover the virtues of kindness and social friendship, a key theme of his pontificate. He said that the late Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was an example of these.
Speaking of kindness, at this moment, the thought goes instantly to our dearest Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who left us this morning. We affectionately remember him—so noble, so kind. And we feel so much gratitude in our hearts.
As the Te Deum is a hymn of thanksgiving, Pope Francis took the opportunity to thank God for the gift of the Pope emeritus.
Gratitude to God for giving him to the Church and the world. Gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished. And above all, gratitude for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of retired life.
Pope Francis stated that the sacrifice of the Pope emeritus during his last years would bear fruit and that the effects are much more profound than we know.
Only God knows the value and strength of his intercession and sacrifices offered for the good of the Church.
During the celebration, many had this special issue of the Italian newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, dedicated to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.