BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Across Maryland, people are celebrating the true meaning of the holidays by heading to church services.

Meghan McCorkell has more on how they are celebrating.

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For Catholics, this is a special year with a new leader at the helm this Christmas.

The eyes of the faithful were on Vatican City as Pope Francis celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass as the leader of the Catholic church. His blessing called on the church to cast aside hatred and embrace love.

“God loves us. He so loves us that He gave His Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness,” Pope Francis said.

Earlier in the day, the Pope took to Twitter, writing, “The Lord is coming. May we await Him with open hearts!”

“We are fortunate to have such an outstanding new Pope,” said Neil Bucklew.

At the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, hundreds of Catholics gathered to heed the Pope’s message.

“It’s about celebrating Christ’s Mass, the joy that Jesus Christ brought to the world,” said Tony Holland.

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“Christmas is all about being thankful. Thankful for all the blessings we have and about giving to others,” said Redonda Miller.

It’s a similar message at New Psalmist Baptist Church, where churchgoers helped more than a thousand families in need this holiday season. The church provided food, toys and clothes.

Bishop Walter Thomas says it’s all in the spirit of the holiday.

“We really stress that here, that giving back and that being generous is working in alignment with God,” Thomas said.

Lessons being learned by both old and young.

“[My favorite part of Christmas is] sharing things with people and getting to see your family,” said seven-year-old Bryce Garrett.

A joyful message as people come together to celebrate.

The Pope will deliver his Christmas message Wednesday from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

Archbishop Lori will be saying Mass at the Basilica Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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