By Kimberly Eiten

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of Baltimoreans began their holiday inside churches around the city, including catholic mass at the Baltimore Basilica.

Priests and parishioners prayed for peace in Baltimore this coming year. Archbishop William Lori delivered a message of peace to hundreds of Catholics packed into crowded pews.

“Hope is renewed in our hearts. Hope that human dignity will be affirmed, hope that we will have peace in our city, in our country, and in our world,” Lori said.

Families traveled from across the world — like one man who told WJZ’s Kimberly Eiten he was visiting from Germany — and across state lines.

Justin Kiewra and his 1-year-old daughter visited from Pennsylvania.

“Amazing. Beautiful church, amazing service,” Kiewra said.

Anne Ames came from just around the corner.

“Oh, I loved it. I loved it. I could cry, it’s beautiful,” Ames said.

Inside the country’s oldest cathedral, Lori’s message focused on a positive outlook for 2018 — after a year of turmoil in Baltimore.

“2018 will be a year of many blessings,” Lori said.

The church will also hold vigils for the new year on New Year’s Eve.

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