The Pope gave his traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) message in the Vatican on Friday.
“I implore all those responsible for countries, companies, and international institutions… to promote cooperation rather than competition, and seek solutions for everyone, and provide vaccines for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable and most in need of help in all regions of the world. Provide vaccines.”
Pope Francis called for “generosity and support”, especially for people who suffered unemployment, hardship and domestic violence during the pandemic.
He speaks at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, rather than from the balcony overlooking St. Peter̵
The leaders of the Catholic Church also used the Christmas message to call for an end to conflicts throughout the Middle East and Africa and to alleviate the suffering of the entire American continent.
The Pope also held a sparse Christmas Eve Mass at the back of St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only 200 people were present, including 30 cardinals.
Christmas Eve Mass is a landmark event in Vatican City. According to Reuters, it is usually held in the main part of the cathedral and can usually attract up to 10,000 people.
Except for the pope and the choir who sang, everyone else was wearing masks, and the event ended earlier than usual, so people can return home before the national curfew in Italy at 10 p.m.
This year, the Pope emphasized the importance of helping those in need and pointed out in his humility that Jesus was exiled.
He said: “The Son of God gave birth to a wanderer. The purpose is to tell us that every wanderer is a child of God.”
Friday’s blessings ended the Pope’s years of silence, and the Pope’s activities were greatly reduced due to the pandemic.
From March to September, he held regular Wednesday audience gatherings online and celebrated Palm Sunday Mass in an empty church in the spring.
During the first wave of Covid-19 in Europe, Italy was one of the worst-hit countries. The government has implemented the strictest Covid-19 measures nationwide during Christmas and New Year to prevent the third wave.