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Francis Celebrated 50 Years of the New Mass Francis Celebrated 50 Years of the New Mass

At 6:00 PM Rome time this evening (March 7, 2015), Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass of commemoration of the first vernacular Mass of Pope Paul VI.

The celebration took place at the Church of All Saints, Via Appia Nuova--the very same church where, fifty years ago today, Pope Paul VI offered a prototype of the New Mass in the vernacular.

In his homily, Pope Francis recalled the Gospel account of the cleansing of the temple, and Jesus’ famous remark, “Do not make My Father’s house a marketplace!”

"This expression, according to Francis as reported by Vatican Radio, did not just refer to those doing business in the temple; it refers to a certain type of religiosity. Jesus’ gesture is one of 'cleansing, of purification.'

The Christians of Iraq are one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world.

In Iraq, Christians numbered about 1,500,000 in 2003, representing just over 5% of the population of the country. They numbered over 1.4 million in 1987 or 8% of the population.

After theIraq War, it was estimated that the number of Christians in Iraq had dropped to less than 450,000 by 2013 - with estimates as low as 200,000.  Chaldean Catholics form the biggest group among the Christians of Iraq.
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