Vatican publishes schedule of papal Christmas liturgies

Vatican publishes schedule of papal Christmas liturgies

As Vatican workers continued to decorate the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square and to erect a platform for the Nativity scene, the office of papal liturgical ceremonies published the list of holiday Masses and prayer services Pope Francis would celebrate.

The Vatican already had announced Pope Francis will make his traditional late afternoon visit to the Spanish Steps in the center of Rome Dec. 8 to pay tribute to the Immaculate Conception at a Marian statue.

For the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he is scheduled to preside over an evening Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Christmas liturgies announced Nov. 28 include:

• Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m., the pope will celebrate the Mass of the Nativity of the Lord in St. Peter’s Basilica. While the Mass is commonly referred to as “midnight Mass,” the Vatican celebration has been earlier for more than a decade.

• Dec. 25 at noon, Pope Francis gives his message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

• Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope presides over evening prayer and the chanting of the “Te Deum” in thanksgiving to God for the year that is ending.

• Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. in the basilica, the pope celebrates Mass for the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and World Peace Day.

• Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s, Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the feast of the Epiphany.

• Jan. 7 at 9:30 a.m. in the Sistine Chapel, the pope presides over a Mass for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and baptizes several infants.