Viet Nam News
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis in his Christmas eve mass Sunday urged the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants who are "driven from their land" because of leaders willing to shed "innocent blood".
"So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary," the Argentine pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian migrants, told worshippers in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
"We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones."
Many engulfed in the ongoing migration crisis were forced to flee from leaders "who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood", said the 81-year-old, who will give his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas address on Monday.
The pontiff’s plea for "hope" came as fresh tensions simmered in the West Bank following Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The announcement by US President Donald Trump on December 6 unleashed demonstrators and clashes, including in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where Christians marked the birth of Jesus at a midnight mass.
Christmas in Mosul
Christmas decorations have become more visible in Christian areas of Syria’s capital Damascus this year.
In the central Syrian city of Homs, Christians will celebrate Christmas with great fanfare for the first time in years after the end of battles between regime and rebel forces, with processions, shows for children and even decorations among the ruins.
In Iraq too, this year marks a positive turning point for the Christian community in the northern city of Mosul.
Hymns filled a Mosul church on Sunday as worshippers celebrated Christmas
for the first time in four years after the city’s recapture from the Islamic State group in July.
Muslims stood alongside Christian worshippers amid the candles and Christmas trees at St Paul’s Church in Mosul. — AFP