Francis Cheers Jesus' Humble Start

Pope celebrates first Christmas Eve mass at Vatican

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 24, 2013 4:39 PM CST | Updated Dec 24, 2013 5:22 PM CST

(Newser) – The Vatican's popular new guy is celebrating his first Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica, and Pope Francis took the occasion to continue to draw from his themes of humility and charity toward society's poor and vulnerable. Emphasizing Jesus Christ's quite humble beginnings, he said, "You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable." He noted that the shepherds—"among the last, the outcast" in society—were the first to get news of Christ's birth, reports the AP.

On deck for the pontiff: Tomorrow's Christmas Day message, which he'll deliver from the basilica's balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square. The AP has the full text of Francis' homily here.

Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis carries a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis carries a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis carries a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis carries a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds up the host as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.
Pope Francis holds up the host as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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