Vatican City, 31 December 2015 (VIS) – On Thursday at 5 p.m., in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Holy Mary Mother of God. This was followed by the exposition of the Holy Sacrament, the traditional “Te Deum” hymn of thanksgiving for the year end, and the Eucharistic blessing. Francis concluded by blessing the nativity display in St. Peter's Square.
“Retracing the days of the past year can either take the form of a remembrance of facts and events leading to moments of joy and suffering, or of seeking to understand whether we have perceived the presence of God Who renews and sustains all with His help. We are called upon to confirm whether the events of the world were realised in accordance with God's will, or if we listened principally to the plans of men, often loaded with private interests, of insatiable thirst for power and gratuitous violence”.
“However, today our eyes must focus in particular on the signs that God has granted us, to touch with our own hand the strength of his merciful love. We cannot forget that many days have been marked by violence, death, and the unspeakable suffering of many innocent people, of refugees compelled to leave their homeland, of men, women and children without a fixed abode, food or sustenance. And then, great gestures of goodness, love and solidarity have filled the days of this year, even though they have not appeared on the news. Good things do not make the news. These signs of love cannot and must not be obscured by the arrogance of evil. Good always prevails, even though in some moments it can appear weaker and hidden”.
“Our city of Rome is not extraneous to this condition that affects the entire world. I would like all its inhabitants to receive a sincere invitation to overcome the difficulties of the present moment. Commitment to recovering the fundamental values of service, honesty and solidarity enables us to overcome the grave uncertainties that have dominated this past year, and which are symptoms of a meagre sense of dedication to the common good. May the positive contribution of Christian witness never be lacking, so that Rome, in accordance with her history, and with the maternal intercession of Mary Salus Populi Romani, may be a special interpreter of faith, acceptance, fraternity and peace”.