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Pope plans full liturgical schedule for Christmas season

December 20, 2011

The Vatican has released a full schedule of liturgical celebrations at which Pope Benedict XVI will preside during the Christmas season.

  • On Christmas Eve, the Holy Father will celebrate the midnight Mass in St. Peter’s basilica. The Mass will begin at 11, to be preceded by a service of readings and carols.
  • On Christmas Day, the Pope will appear at the loggia of the Vatican basilica at noon to deliver his Urbi et Orbi message.
  • On Saturday evening, December 31, the Pope will preside at Vespers for the feast of Mary, Mother of God. Following that service, which will be held in the Vatican basilica, he will participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the traditional singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the blessings of the passing year.
  • On January 1, the Pope will celebrate morning Mass, again in the Vatican basilica, for the feast of Mary, Mother of God. He will also formally deliver his message for the XLVth World Day of Peace, which will be observed on that day. All members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican are invited to attend.
  • On January 6, the Pope will celebrate Mass for the feast of the Epiphany, and—in accordance with a Vatican tradition—ordain new bishops. This year he will confer episcopal ordination upon Archbishop-elect Charles Brown, the American-born priest who will become the apostolic nuncio in Ireland; and Archbishop-elect Marek Solczynski, who will be nuncio to Georgia and Armenia.
  • On January 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Pope will carry out another Vatican tradition by baptizing several children during a Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel.
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