Mercy enlightens past year, gives hope for new year, pope says

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December 31, 2015

Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter's Square after visiting the Nativity scene in the square on New Year's Eve at the Vatican Dec. 31. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-VESPERS-MARY Dec. 31, 2015.

Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter’s Square after visiting the Nativity scene in the square on New Year’s Eve at the Vatican Dec. 31. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gift of mercy is a light that helps Christians reflect on the past year and radiates hope at the start of the new year, Pope Francis said.

While retracing the events of 2015 may recall moments of both joy and sorrow, it also offers a moment to understand the presence of God who “renews and sustains with his help,” Pope Francis said during an evening prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Eve.

The prayer service included eucharistic adoration and Benediction, as well as the singing of the “Te Deum,” a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God, for the closing year.

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