Pope Francis has presided over a solemn prayer service in St Peter's Basilica on New Year's Eve, using his homily to stress life's fleetingness.
The spiritual leader said: "How we like to be surrounded by so many fireworks, seemingly beautiful, but which in reality last only a few minutes."
As humans, he said, there is a "time to be born and a time to die" and New Year's also is a time to reflect on our mortality, "the end of the path of life".
Afterward, the 78-year-old pontiff, wearing a long white coat, a scarf and a thin skull cap, braved frigid air to admire the life-size Nativity scene in St Peter's Square. For 20 minutes, he walked around shaking hands of people lined up behind barriers to greet him.