Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass late Wednesday night in St. Peter’s Basilica and made a phone call to Iraqi refugees who were forced to leave their homes because of Muslim militants.
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Francis compared the refugees to Jesus’ situation in the Bible as he was forced to flee because there was no place for him. For Christians, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem barn manger, chosen because there was no room for his parents at an inn.
“You’re like Jesus on this night, and I bless you and am close to you,” Francis told the Iraqis, according to the audio of the call provided by TV2000, the television of the Italian bishops’ conference which arranged the hookup. “I embrace you all and wish for you a holy Christmas.”