Thousands of people turned out in Rome's Saint Peter's Basilica to take part in Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas Eve midnight mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
The 81 year-old Benedict, clad in white and gold-colored vestment, walked in a procession up the basilica's main aisle, smiling and stopping several times to shake outstretched hands and bless children. The solemn music of the choir celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Those who were unable to get inside the church braved the cold night in Saint Peter's Square and
watched the mass on giant television screens. The celebration was broadcast via satellite to more than 65 countries.
In his homily, Pope Benedict in Italian language said God appeared as the baby Jesus more than two-thousand years ago to ask for love the same way every child asks for love.
The Vatican's Christmas festivities began several hours before the mass with the unveiling of the Nativity scene next to the Vatican's largest-ever Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square. The Pope appeared at his studio window to light a single candle in a sign of peace, on Wednesday, Dec 24.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict is scheduled to deliver his twice-yearly Urbi et Orbi Christmas message to the city and to the world in which he is expected to touch on matters of Vatican and international concern.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)