Pope Francis Delivers First Christmas Sermon

Leader of Catholic Church calls on the faithful to ‘walk in the light’

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© Tony Gentile / Reuters / REUTERS

Pope Francis holds the baby Jesus statue at the end of the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 24, 2013.

Pope Francis presided over his first Christmas Eve mass as leader of the Catholic Church at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican city on Tuesday, and called on the faithful to embrace love and forgiveness and avoid hate.

“If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light. But if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us, and around us,” said Pope Francis, according to CNN.

Thousands of pilgrims flocked to Rome for the service and thousands more are expected to travel to the Vatican to celebrate Christmas.

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