Pope Francis has concluded the Year of Faith by venerating the relics of St Peter. He held them in his hands during the Creed and the delivery of the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium'. He also appealed for peace in Syria and the Holy Land.
- Vatican Insider
Francis’ closing message for the Year of Faith during yesterday's mass celebration in St Peter’s Basilica said When Jesus is on the Cross and the good thief is standing close by, he 'speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard.'
At the end of the mass, the Pope delivered the text of the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' to 36 representatives of the 'people of God', including two journalists. The 'Evangelii Gaudium' on Evangelisation is to be published officially on Tuesday.
Before the start of the mass there was a collection, with all offerings going to victims of the Philippines typhoon disaster.
During his homily, the Pope remembered his predecessor Benedict XVI with affection and gratitude. He referred to the Year of Faith as a 'providential initiative' and greeted Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
'The exchange of peace, which I will make with them - he says - means, first of all the Bishop of Rome's high regard for these communities, who have confessed the name of Christ with an exemplary fidelity, often paying dearly. Similarly - he adds - through them, with this gesture I mean to embrace all Christians living in the Holy Land, Syria and throughout the East, and invoke the gift of peace and harmony for all.'
Pope brings Year of Faith to a close (Vatican Insider)