ROME — Vatican finances have taken a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns, Pope Francis said, but he promised Vatican employees none of them would lose their jobs.

Meeting a representative group of employees Dec. 21 to exchange Christmas greetings and offer them thoughts for reflection, the pope began by recognizing the health and economic difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic had caused for so many people.

“The Holy See also has experienced this and is making every effort to face this precarious situation in the best way,” the pope told the employees.

The Vatican, he said, must try to meet “the legitimate needs of you employees” while also being responsible with reduced resources.

“As our collaborators, you who work in the Holy See are the most important thing,” the pope told them. “No one is to be left out, no one has to leave their job; the superiors of the Governor’s Office (for Vatican City State) and also of the Secretariat of State, all of them, are looking for ways not to reduce your income and not to diminish anything, nothing at this very bad time.”

The principle remains: “No one should be laid off, no one should suffer the awful economic effect of this pandemic,” he said to applause. “But together we must work harder to help each other solve this problem, which is not easy.”

In the main part of his talk to the employees, he spoke about their role in spreading the faith and how that begins with their own prayer and prayer in their families.

“Christmas is a holiday of joy because Jesus is born for us, and we all are called to go to him,” the pope said. “The shepherds give us an example. We, too, must go to Jesus, shaking off our lethargy, boredom, apathy, disinterest and fear, especially during this health emergency when we struggle to rediscover enthusiasm for life and faith.”

Still, he said, at such a “tiring time,” Christians must make a special effort to discover the Lord, contemplate him and proclaim his Gospel to others.