Pope Ends Year Praying for Tsunami Victims

Celebrates a Mass for Those Affected by Disaster

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II brought 2004 to a close, thanking God for the year’s blessings, and then celebrating Midnight Mass for the victims of the tsunami-earthquake disaster in Asia.

In a brief homily at the traditional year-end singing of the «Te Deum,» the Pope said: «Another year draws to a close. With a vivid consciousness of how quickly time passes, we are gathered here this evening to thank God for all the blessings and benefits he has offered us during this year 2004.»

«Together, let us thank God for all the manifestations of his goodness and mercy with which he has accompanied the journey of our city during these months,» the Holy Father said during the year-end ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica. «May he bring to fulfillment every apostolic endeavor and every good undertaking.»

The Pope spoke with a stronger and clearer voice than in recent occasions. He concluded asking God to grant us, through the intercession of Mary, «the gift of peace for the world.»

A few hours later, at midnight, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in his private chapel for all of the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, according to Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls.

The Pope remembered «all the families of the victims and all those who are suffering as a consequence of this disaster as well as all of those who are striving to alleviate the tremendous sufferings of the affected peoples.»

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