Benedict XVI is inviting Christians to "be not afraid," despite economic shadows hanging over 2009.
The Pope made this exhortation Wednesday during his homily at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica that included first vespers for today's feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the graces of 2008.
"This year closes with the awareness of a growing economic and social crisis that already concerns the entire world," he said. "Though not a few shadows are appearing on the horizon of our future, we should not be afraid.
"Our great hope as believers is eternal life in communion with Christ and with the whole family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to confront and overcome the difficulties of life in this world." (Zenit.org).-