Pope Benedict celebrates midnight mass in Rome

December 25th, 2008 - 8:59 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, Dec 25 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI late Wednesday led the Vatican’s Christmas festivities by celebrating the traditional Midnight Mass. Thousands of Catholics, including many foreigners, flocked to St. Peter’s Basilica as Benedict presided over the ceremony. Many more followed the somber proceedings on giant video screens in the cold of St. Peter’s square.

Earlier, the 81-year-old pontiff appeared briefly from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square to light a candle symbolising peace.

Benedict’s gesture followed the unveiling in the square of a Nativity Scene, or crib, that recreates the scene of Jesus’ birth.

It is the fourth year that Benedict has celebrated mass as pope.

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