Pope Benedict Sunday prayed for victims of the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
The pontiff spoke in English to express his grief and urge the faithful to dedicate themselves to prayer and peace.
Pope Benedict then greeted thousands of children assembled in Saint Peter's Square, a tradition on the third Sunday of Advent.
"I was deeply saddened by Friday's senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut. I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer," said Pope Benedict XVI. "May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain."