December 24, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Benedict XVI will spend the holidays in Rome and preside over seven solemn ceremonies.
His Christmas activities will begin on December 24 at five P.M. with the
unveiling of the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. The pope will
appear at his window to give a blessing. That same day at ten in the
evening, he will celebrate the traditional Midnight Mass in St. Peter's
On December 25, the pope will wish a Merry Christmas in some 65 languages and provide the traditional blessing “Urbi et Orbi” from the balcony of the basilica. It's a ceremony followed by millions of people around the world through television, radio and internet.
The last ceremony of the year will be the recitation of the “Te Deum.” It's a prayer of thanksgiving for the years events, such as the World Youth Day in Madrid, the beatification of John Paul II and the pope's trips to Africa and Germany.
January 1 is recognized as the World Day of Peace. The pope will hold a morning Mass at St. Peter's to ask for peace throughout the world.
January 6 is the Epiphany, when Benedict XVI will ordain two bishops: John Charles Brown, the new nuncio in Ireland, and Marek Solczyński, the new nuncio to Georgia and Armenia.
The last ceremony for the pope during these days will be on Sunday January 8 for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Mass will be celebrated in the Sistine Chapel where the pope will baptize the children of Vatican employees.