|Pope Francis delivers his noon address on New Year's Day.|
At the start of the new year, Pope Francis encouraged people of all religious backgrounds and ethnicities to unite against injustices including slavery and human trafficking. This, the first mass of 2015, marked the Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, with the theme “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters.”
Pope Francis emphasized the importance of working together: "All of us are called (by God) to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture, and religion, let us join our forces."
This papal goal for 2015 comes as no surprise to many. Pope Francis has recently asked both consumers and heads of state to be aware of how goods are produced and the negative effect of forced labor, and he has also championed the rights of workers.
After mass, he delivered the traditional New Year’s Day noon address, encouraging those seeking peace to continue their work. "Peace is always possible," he said, "but we have to seek it.”