Pope offers Christmas wish for peace
Time:2006/12/25 9:01:43  

Wearing gold-colored vestments, smiling at the faithful and raising a hand in blessing as a chorus sang, the pontiff strode up the main aisle to take his place on the central altar, which was decorated with red poinsettia flowers. He walked around the altar, sprinkling incense.

"Peace be with you," intoned Benedict, and the faithful responded: "And also with you."

To symbolize the worldwide reach of the Roman Catholic Church, children from Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the far reaches of the Pacific — Korean, Polish and Guatemalan youngsters as well as a pair each from Papua New Guinea and Burkina Faso among them — were selected to bring gifts to the altar in a procession.


Vatican said that the Mass was to be broadcast to some 44 nations.

The solemn ceremony began exactly 12 hours before Benedict was scheduled to deliver the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" speech — Latin for "to the city and to the world" — to a crowd expected to number in the tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square.

Under Benedict's predecessor,


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