(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has a busy schedule during the Octave of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the Holy Father will celebrate Christmas Mass “during the Night” in St Peter’s Basilica, beginning at 9:30 Rome time.
On Sunday, at noon on Christmas day, Pope Francis will deliver his annual Christmas message, ahead of the traditional blessing Urbi et orbi: of the City of Rome, and of the whole world.
Both the Mass on Christmas Eve and the Pope’s Christmas message will be broadcast by Vatican Radio with live commentary in English.
Pope Francis will lead the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square in the Angelus for the feast of St Stephen the first martyr at noon on Monday, the first day after Christmas, also known in many English-speaking countries as Boxing Day.
The fourth day of the Christmas Octave, the feast of the Holy Innocents, will see Pope Francis returning to St Peter’s Square for his Wednesday General Audience, beginning at the usual hour of 10 am Rome time.
On Saturday 31 December, New Year’s Eve, the Holy Father will lead the celebration of First Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God in the Vatican Basilica. The liturgy will begin at 5 pm Rome time. Following Vespers, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar for a period of Adoration, and the traditional hymn Te Deum will be sung in thanksgiving at the conclusion of the civil year. The liturgical celebration will conclude with Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament.
After the ceremonies within St Peter’s, Pope Francis will visit the crèche set up outside the Basilica in St Peter’s Square, where he is expected to spend some time in silent prayer.
The following day, Sunday, the last day of the Octave of Christmas, Pope Francis will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God. The Mass will begin at 10 am Rome time, and will be broadcast with live English commentary.
Finally, at the conclusion of the Mass on New Year’s Day, Pope Francis will pray the Angelus at noon with all the faithful in St Peter’s Square and around the world.