Pope ode to motherhood ushers in 2019 after disastrous 2018

Pope Francis delivers his speech as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medi

Pope Francis delivers his speech as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medi

Pope Francis delivers his message as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Med

Pope Francis delivers his message as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Med

Pope Francis kisses a statue of the Divine Infant as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP

Pope Francis kisses a statue of the Divine Infant as he celebrates a new year Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has ushered in the New Year with an ode to motherhood, reminding the faithful that a mother's example and embrace is the only antidote to today's disjointed world of solitude and misery.

Francis celebrated Mass Tuesday in St. Peter's Basilica to formally open 2019. In his homily Francis urged Catholics to allow themselves to be led again as children are led by their mothers.

He said: "We need to learn from mothers that heroism is shown in self-giving, strength in compassion, wisdom in meekness."

The New Year followed a disastrous 2018 for Francis, which opened with the explosion of the global sex abuse scandal and ended with the sudden departures of the Vatican spokesman and deputy in a sign of discord and dysfunction within the Holy See.