PoPe leads Christ­mas eve mass

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Her­alded by the blare of trum­pets, Pope Bene­dict XVI presided over Christ­mas Eve Mass in a st. Peter’s Basil­ica packed with tourists, Ital­ians and other faith­ful. The cer­e­mony be­gan at 10 p.m. Mon­day in­stead of the tra­di­tional mid­night start time. The sched­ule was changed at the Vat­i­can years ago to let the pon­tiff rest be­fore de­liv­er­ing a Christ­mas Day mes­sage from the basil­ica’s cen­tral bal­cony. a smil­ing Bene­dict, dressed in gold-col­ored vest­ments, waved to photo-snap­ping pil­grims and ap­plaud­ing church­go­ers as he glided up the cen­ter aisle to­ward the or­nate main al­tar of the cav­ernous basil­ica on a wheeled plat­form guided by white-gloved aides. a few hours be­fore Mass, Bene­dict lit a Christ­mas peace can­dle and set it upon the sill of his stu­dio win­dow over­look­ing st. Peter’s square.

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