Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pope Francis Celebrates Mass in Near-Empty Service

Pope Francis Celebrates Mass in Near-Empty Service
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:01:04 0:00

Pope Francis celebrated a low-key Christmas Eve Mass made somber by the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, December 24, and said people should feel obliged to help the needy because Jesus himself was born a poor outcast.

The Mass was held in a rear section of St. Peter's Basilica with less than 100 participants and only a small number of cardinals and bishops.

It is usually held in the main section of the basilica and attended by up to 10,000 people, including the diplomatic corps representing nearly 200 countries.

Everyone except the pope and the small choir wore a mask during the Mass, which began two hours earlier than usual so that even the limited number of people who attended could return home by a 10 p.m. curfew.

Francis said Christmas should make everyone reflect on "our injustice towards so many of our brothers and sisters" instead of pursuing "our endless desire for possessions" and ephemeral pleasures.