Pope Francis Marks Epiphany, Traditional Catholic Feast

Pope Francis Thursday marked the Catholic feast day of Epiphany, the day traditionally observed to commemorate the three wise men — or Magi — visiting the baby Jesus, by urging people to “follow their dreams.”

During a Mass celebrated at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope recalled the journey of the Magi, who, according to Scripture, followed a star to Bethlehem where the baby Jesus was born in a manger. He said the three had a sort of “healthy restlessness” driven by a desire to see the Christ child.

Francis said, “They were not content to plod through life, but yearned for new and greater horizons.” He urged people to follow the example of the wise men, and lead their lives “brimming with desire, directed, like the Magi, towards the stars.”

He urged people to move past the “barriers of habit, beyond banal consumerism, beyond a drab and dreary faith, beyond the fear of becoming involved and serving others and the common good.”

Pope Francis said the Catholic Church could learn something from the Magi as well, saying it needs “this deep desire and zeal that should animate our journey of life and faith.”  

The pope appeared to direct his comments specifically at the more conservative members of the Church who balked at his decision to restrict the traditionalist Latin Mass, saying the liturgy could not be trapped in a “dead language.”

The Pope concluded his message by noting the Magi’s return home “by another way,” saying they challenge all of us, as well, to take new paths, to be open to the “creativity of the Spirit.”

The Epiphany is observed in predominantly Catholic nations around the world. Falling 12 days after Christmas, in many places, it is traditionally the last day of the holiday season.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

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