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Pope to invite fellow Roman citizens to morning mass on New Year's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis, with the new Year, will get far better acquainted with his more immediate neighbors in Rome. After reaching out to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics at Christmas, a handful of Romans will be invited to celebrate morning mass on New Year's Day with the pope inside the Vatican.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 77-year-old pontiff in his brief tenure has become well-known for embracing the young, old and disabled. Disregarding security concerns that have surrounded previous popes, Francis has been accessible when the faithful gather in Saint Peter's Square, or picking up the phone to make personal calls to individuals or families in need of spiritual guidance.

Since the pope is also formally recognized as the bishop of Rome, he will now have the opportunity to get to know the Catholics closest to him.

Around 30 people will be selected from Rome parishes. They will be chosen on a rotational basis to attend mass in the intimate chapel inside the Santa Marta residence where the pontiff lives, next to St Peter's Basilica.

The pope celebrates mass each morning. This will be the first time members of the public will be invited to share the pope's daily ritual on a regular basis.

Italian churches have reported a rise in the number of faithful returning to church since the Argentinian-born pope's election in March. In his nine-month tenure, Francis has only made two visits to local parishes in the Italian capital.

Vatican media spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told The Telegraph on Thursday the pope was likely to visit another Rome parish early next year and attend services at the major basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls, during the week of Christian unity on January 25. Details were still being decided.



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