JANUARY 1 2012 19:29h
Pope turns to Mary in Jan. 1 mass
Benedict called Mary "mediator of God's blessing for the world," a role the Roman Catholic Church has since assumed.
"The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men," the pontiff told the crowd.
Radio Vatican said a large crowd of tourists and pilgrims filled the basilica Sunday despite the January chill.
VATICAN CITY, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI paid the traditional New Year's homage to the Virgin Mary Sunday at a public mass at St. Peter's Basilica.