THE Vatican in its tradition of celebrating New Year's Day on January 1 called on the people worldwide to ponder on the true essence of love.

Pope Benedict XVI is his New Year's Day Mass attended by the Roman Catholic faithful appealed to begin the year 2010 by sowing love especially for the children and the environment, as well as for the planet earth.

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The Pope called on for peace, respect, and tolerance and the protection of children from war and violence.

"Stop, reflect and abandon the way of violence. You will feel in your hearts the joy of peace, which you have perhaps long forgotten," the Pope said, adding that peace begins by recognizing that men are brother, not rivals or enemies.

He noted: "Peace begins with a look of respect that recognizes in another man's face a person, regardless of the color of his skin, nationality, language or religion."

Further, he said that men's faces are a prophecy of the kind of humanity we are called upon to create "a family of families and peoples."

"The painful images of children at the mercy of war and violence, their faces disfigured by pain and desperation," the Pope said, adding that the people should put in their hearts children in the call for peace.

And for the environment, the pope also called on for the people to protect the environment against degradation that may affect the planet.

The people should change their lifestyles to save the planet, the pope said.

"Nevertheless, in this moment, I would like to underline the importance of the choices of individuals, families and local administrations in preserving the environment," the Pope said. (GMD)