Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Christmas Eve Mass
Pope Benedict XVI marked Christmas Eve by holding Mass in St Peter's Basilica and asking a question to the people: Will people find room in their hectic, technology-driven lives for children, the poor and God?
The Pope prayed for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and asked them to also include Syria as well as Lebanon and Iraq in their prayers.
The ceremony began at 22.00h local time with the blare of trumpets and, as midnight neared, church bells could be heard across all of Rome, while inside the Basilica the Vatican's boys' choir resounded joyously.
Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican traditionally began at midnight, but this was moved up years ago in order to allow the 85-year-old pontiff more time to rest before his traditional Christmas Day speech, which will be given at midday from the Basilica's balcony.