Dec. 24 - Pope Francis conducts his first Christmas Eve midnight mass at St. Peter's Basilica, urging people to choose between darkness and light. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, on Tuesday urged people to shun pride and selfishness and open up their hearts to God and their fellow man. Francis, who last March became the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, celebrated a solemn Christmas Eve Mass for some 10,000 people in a packed St. Peter's Basilica as hundreds of others watched on mega-screens in the square outside. The great bells of the basilica, the same that rang to announce his election on March 13, sounded when the Sistine Chapel Choir intoned the Gloria, a prayer which starts with the words the Bible says angels sang on the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Francis delivered a short homily that was as simple as his white vestments: Man can choose between darkness and light. "If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us," he said. Christmas Eve began a hectic period for the 77-year-old pope, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. On Wednesday at noon (1100 gmt) he will deliver the second "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message and blessing of his pontificate. The first was last Easter. On Dec. 31, he celebrates a year-end Mass of thanksgiving inside the basilica and the next days presides at a New Year's Mass to mark the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace.