Pope urges ‘humble’ Christmas, with savings sent to Ukraine

Dec 13, 2022, 11:33 AM | Updated: Dec 14, 2022, 1:40 am

Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at The Vatican, Wednesday, Dec...

Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at The Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

(AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)


Pope Francis called Wednesday for a “humble” Christmas this year, with savings from reduced spending on gifts donated to help the “suffering people of Ukraine.”

Francis called for “concrete gestures” of charity for Ukrainians this holiday season during his weekly general audience.

“It’s nice to celebrate Christmas and have parties, but let’s lower the level of Christmas spending a bit,” he said. “Let’s make a more humble Christmas, with more humble gifts, and let’s send what we save to the people of Ukraine who need it.”

Francis has spoken out frequently about the “martyred” people of Ukraine ever since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. The Vatican has organized humanitarian deliveries over recent months, including a clothing drive this month to bring thermal wear to Ukrainians suffering the winter cold with reduced heating and electricity.

“They are hungry, they are cold, so many die for lack of doctors and nurses,” Francis said. “Let’s not forget them. Christmas yes, in peace and with the Lord, yes. But with Ukrainians in the heart.”

Francis recently sparked a new diplomatic row with Moscow when he blamed most of the “cruelty” in Russia’s war on Chechen and other minority fighters, who he said were not of “the Russian tradition.” Russia’s ambassador to the Holy See lodged a formal protest with the Holy See after the remarks, and Russian officials said this week the Vatican hadn’t yet apologized.

In another Christmas gesture, the Vatican said this week that Francis had sent letters to heads of state around the globe asking them to undertake a “gesture of clemency” for eligible prisoners. Francis reasoned that doing so could show “an opening to the grace of the Lord in a time marked by tensions, injustices and conflicts.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

22 hours ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

Pope urges ‘humble’ Christmas, with savings sent to Ukraine