New Year at the Vatican © Lami
German carol singers at the Vatican © Gennari (CBA)
Pope Francis on New Year's Day called for a nonviolent and sustained commitment to peace: "The enemy of peace is not only war, but also indifference".
At the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, Francis called for a "spiritual struggle" to make room for peace in hearts. Earlier, on New Year's Eve, despite all the crises and conflicts, he had urged confidence: "Good always wins, even if at some moments it seems weaker and invisible," he said at the solemn end of the year in St. Peter's Basilica.
The year 2015 was marked by "unspeakable suffering of many innocent people," Francis said on New Year's Eve. Countless had been "forced to leave their homes". At the same time, there have been "great gestures of kindness, love and solidarity". Such signs of love could not and should not be "obscured by the ruthlessness of evil". At the same time, he said, everyone must examine his conscience to what extent he has aided "private interests and the unquenchable thirst for power and violence".
Building a more just and fraternal world
The Catholic Church celebrates 1. January as World Peace Day. This year's motto is: "Overcome indifference and win the peace". In his homily for the New Year's service, the Pope urged the "building of a more just and fraternal world" in which every man and every creature could live in peace. In doing so, he condemned an "indifference that thwarts solidarity" and a "false neutrality" that hinders sharing.
Even at the time of Jesus' birth 2.000 years of war and violence. Yet this "raging river" is powerless against the "ocean of mercy". The power of faith can accomplish "what neither the reason of philosophers nor the negotiation of politics can achieve," Francis said.
Carolers from Germany
Three carol singers from the diocese of Eichstatt participated in the New Year's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. Charlotte Schon (12), Stefan Waldau (10) and Ulrich Bittl (12), dressed as Magi with crown and robe, were allowed to bring wine and bread to the altar for the Eucharistic celebration. Francis exchanged a few words with them and then also greeted the carolers at the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square.
A total of 15 carol singers, accompanied by the president of the children's missionary organization "Die Sternsinger," Klaus Kramer, traveled to Rome on New Year's Day. This is the twelfth time that children from Germany have taken part in the offertory procession at the Pope's Mass.