Pope Francis praises Benedict as 'faithful servant of Church'

Pope Francis during his weekly Angelus address Sunday
 VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis paid tribute to Emeritus pope Benedict XVI Sunday as a "faithful servant of the Gospel and the Church," a day after the death of the German former pontiff set off a constellation of praise from leaders around the world.
 Speaking in his weekly Angelus address from the window of the Apostolic Palace, Francis said that "the  beginning  of  the  new  year  is  entrusted  to  Mary  Most  Holy  whom  we  celebrate  today  as Mother of God."
 "At this time, let us invoke her intercession especially for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who left this world yesterday morning. Let us all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church."
 The Argentine pope also renewed his call for peace in the world.
"Celebrating the World Day of Peace, let us regain awareness of the responsibility that has been entrusted to us to construct the future – in the face of the personal and social crises we are living, in the face of the tragedy of the war, 'we are called to confront the challenges of our world in a spirit of responsibility and compassion' (Message for the  56th  World  Day  of  Peace,  5).  And  we  can  do  this  if  we  take  care  of  each  other  and  if,  all  of  us together, take care of our common home."
 "Let us implore Mary Most Holy, the Mother of God, so that in this epoch, polluted by diffidence and  indifference,  she  might  make  us  capable  of  being  compassionate  and  providing  care,  capable  of 'looking more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary,' Francis said. 
 Earlier Sunday the pope, in a homily for a Mass in St Peter's Basilica to mark the 56th World Peace Day, said: "Let us pray to our Mother in a special way for her sons and daughters who are suffering and no longer have the strength to pray, and for our many brothers and sisters throughout the world who are victims of war, passing these holidays in darkness and cold, in poverty and fear, immersed in violence and indifference!"
  "For all those who have no peace, let us invoke Mary, the woman who brought into the world the Prince of peace," Francis said. “Today we entrust to our Blessed Mother our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that she may accompany him in his passage from this world to God,” Francis said.
 Francis, 86, on Sunday arrived in the basilica in a wheelchair, before taking his place in a chair for the Mass.

  “At the beginning of this year, we need hope, just as the Earth needs rain,” Francis said.