Dec. 25 (UPI) — Pope Francis marked Christmas Eve by leading a service attended by about 2,000 people at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City near Rome on Friday.
The pope was maskless as he entered and proceeded down the center aisle of the church, and remained maskless throughout the service, according to video of the event.
The pope emphasized the Catholic belief that God was born as Jesus, a small, weak baby rather than appearing as a mighty figure, according to the Vatican website’s English transcription of the service.
“God does not rise up in grandeur, but lowers Himself into littleness,” the pope said.
The birth showed that “littleness is the path God shows to draw near to us, to save us, to bring us back to what truly matters,” the Vatican account said.
“Let us rouse ourselves, for tonight a light has been lit, a kindly light, reminding us that, in our littleness, we are beloved sons and daughters, children of the light,” Pope Francis said.
The Vatican allowed only 200 people at the service in 2020 as the pandemic raged unchecked by vaccines, but the basilica can hold up to 20,000 people.