Benedict XVI's Schedule for Christmas Season

His First Yuletide as Pope

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2005 ( The Vatican published the calendar of celebrations due to be presided by Benedict XVI during this, his first, Christmas season as Pope.

The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, in a press release today, said: «After calling to mind annually the paschal mystery, the Church doesn’t have anything more sacred than the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, and of his first manifestations: something that is lived during Christmastime.»

On Saturday, Dec. 24, Benedict XVI will preside at the Christmas Eve midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

At noon the next day, Sunday, the Pope will give his Christmas message and impart a blessing «urbi et orbi» (to the city of Rome and the world) at St. Peter’s Square.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, the Holy Father will preside at the vespers of the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and will sing the «Te Deum,» a hymn of thanksgiving, to conclude the year, in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Pope will begin the new year with Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. Jan. 1 will also mark the 39th World Day of Peace, whose theme is «In Truth, Peace.»

On Jan. 6, solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Pontiff will preside at Mass in St. Peter’s at 9:30 a.m.

The liturgical period of Christmas will conclude Sunday, Jan. 8, with the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. Benedict XVI will preside at Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 10 a.m., during which he will baptize a number of children.

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