Pope Francis delivers his message as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Tourists, Romans gather in St. Peter's Square to hear pope

December 25, 2018 - 5:39 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Thousands of tourists and Romans have gathered in St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis's Christmas message to the world.

Police waved metal-detecting wands as the faithful waited patiently to enter the vast square on a sunny, mild day ahead of the Tuesday noon appearance. Metal-detecting machines were also deployed under the colonnade embracing the square, as part of tight Vatican City security measures.

The Pope's traditional "Urbi et Orbi" speech — ("to the city of Rome and the world") — often is an occasion for the pope to speak about the globe's trouble spots and other violence.

Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass on Monday for the faithful in St. Peter's Basilica.

Awaiting Tuesday's papal speech from the basilica's central balcony, tourists admired a life-sized Nativity scene.

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