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Tuesday, December 28, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 25, 2004 (VIS) - At midnight the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of the Birth of Our  Lord.  Thirty cardinals concelebrated with the Pope. During the Gloria, children from Peru, Guatemala, Poland, Italy, Korea, Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo laid flowers before the image of the Child Jesus.

  In this year specially dedicated to the Eucharist, John Paul II spoke about the link between the birth of Jesus and the Eucharist in his homily. 

  The Pope said that in "the Son of the Virgin, 'wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger,' we acknowledge and adore 'the Bread which came down from heaven,' the Redeemer who came among us in order to bring life to the world."

  After recalling that Bethlehem means "house of bread" in Hebrew, the Holy Father indicated that it was there that the "One, who under the sign of broken bread, would leave us the memorial of his Pasch. On this Holy Night, adoration of the Child Jesus becomes Eucharistic adoration."

  "We adore you, Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, the living Bread which gives life to humanity.  We acknowledge you as our one God, a little Child lying helpless in the manger!  In the fullness of time, you became a man among men, to unite the end to the beginning , that is, man to God."

  "You are born on this Night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life," he said. "All humanity, with its burden of trials and troubles, stands in need of you."  The Holy Father concluded by saying, "Stay with us, living Bread which came down from heaven for our salvation! Stay with us forever!"

  Included in the prayers of the faithful were petitions for leaders of nations and heads of international organizations so that they may do all they can to establish peace.  The faithful also prayed that the Holy Land may live "times of prosperity and peaceful coexistence in mutual respect of its inhabitants" and with respect for human life, street children, the sick and those marginalized in society.
HML/MIDNIGHT MASS/...                            VIS 20041228 (380)

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