For most people, Christmas is the season for rest and to get some time off work, but not in the Vatican. We are well into Advent; Christmas is getting closer, so the pope and Vatican officials are busy preparing one of the most intense periods in the Catholic calendar.
As usual, the pope will celebrate Mass every day of the week at Casa Santa Marta. On Wednesday, he will celebrate a General Audience in Paul VI Audience Hall with thousands of pilgrims from around the world.
Thursday, December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. That day, the pope will lead the Angelus prayer and address the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square from the window of his office in the Apostolic Palace.
That afternoon, he will go to Rome's Spanish Steps, where he will venerate and pray in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception. This tradition was instituted in the 1950's by Pope Pius XII.
On Friday evening, the Christmas tree and the nativity scene in St. Peter's Square will be lit up, completing the Christmas atmosphere in the Vatican. Finally, the pope will wrap up his week with the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.