By Jim Fair

Pope Francis started the new year with a call to gratitude and praise, reminding the faithful that the world is a “miracle”.

His remarks came before praying the noonday Angelus with a huge crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. His appearance at the window of his study in the Apostolic Vatican Palace followed Holy Mass celebrated in the

“Yesterday evening we ended the year 2019 thanking God for the gift of time and for all His benefits,” the Holy Father said. “Today we begin 2020 with the same attitude of gratitude and praise. It’s not a given that our planet began a new rotation of the sun and that we human beings continue to inhabit it. It’s not a given, rather, it’s always a ‘miracle’ of which to be astonished and grateful.”

The Pope emphasized that the child born to Mary is a blessing from God for every man and woman. He how important it is that “we fix our gaze on the Mother and on the Son that She shows us”.

“On the first day of the year, the Liturgy celebrates the Holy Mother of God, Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth, who gave birth to Jesus, the Savior,” Francis said. “That Child is God’s blessing for every man and woman, for the great human family and for the entire world. Jesus did not remove evil from the world but He defeated it at its root.

“Therefore, the Mother of God blesses us. And, how does Our Lady bless us? By showing us the Son. She takes Him in her arms and shows Him and thus She blesses us. She blesses the whole Church; She blesses the whole world. ”

The Holy Father also reminded those listening that it is the World Day of Peace, an observance instituted by Pope Paul VI to be dedicated to prayer and efforts for peace. The message for the day, the Pope recalled reads: “Peace is a path of hope, a path in which one advances through dialogue, reconciliation, and ecological conversion”.

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