Pope Francis celebrates Christmas
Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass before an estimated 2,000 people in St. Peter's Basilica on Friday, going ahead with the service despite a resurgence in COVID-19 cases that has prompted a new vaccine mandate for Vatican employees. A maskless Francis processed down the central aisle as the Sistine Chapel choir sang "Noel," kicking off the Vatican's Christmas holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem. On sunday, Pope Francis begs the world for dialogue and encounter in his Christmas address. The Pope spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter’s basilica to hundreds of people gathered in the rainy square with participation restricted by COVID-19 measures.