Letter from Rome

19 December 2013 | by Robert Mickens

This is the first Christmas with Pope Francis, and we journalists will be listening closely to his words and keeping watch for any possible surprise changes he might make to the Vatican’s normal seasonal protocol.Just a year ago Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who turned 77 this past Tuesday, could not have imagined he’d be wearing papal white and celebrating Christmas in St Peter’s Basilica in 2013. “Absolutely not!” he answered when La Stampa’s Andrea Tornielli asked him precisely that question in a recent interview for the Turin-based daily. Papa Francesco said Christmas was a “mystery of consolation” for him.“Many times after the Midnight Mass I have spent an hour or so alone in the chapel before celebrating the Mass at dawn and I experienc

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