Pope Francis to preside over all major Christmas ceremonies

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Pope Francis will spend the holidays in the Vatican. Although he'll have fewer work meetings, more traditional ceremonies await him. 

On Christmas Eve, the pope will celebrate the “night before Christmas” Mass at 9:30 p.m.

The Mass, which welcomes diplomats and pilgrims, concludes with the moving procession of the baby Jesus. 

At noon on December 25, the Holy Father will give his Christmas message from the basilica's central balcony and share the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, which is reserved for the two most important Catholic feasts – Easter and Christmas.

Tuesday, December 26, is the Feast of St. Stephen, one celebrated throughout Italy. Thus, Pope Francis will pray the Angelus from the window of his study. 

The Feast of St. John on Wednesday is a Vatican holiday. However, the pope will still hold the General Audience, as many pilgrims are visiting Rome during this season. 

On Sunday, in addition to praying the Angelus in the morning, Pope Francis will pray the “Te Deum” prayer to give thanks to God for His blessings throughout the year. Later, the Holy Father will visit this giant Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square.

On the first day of the year, the pope will preside over an early Mass in the basilica to pray for peace in the world. Two important American choirs will perform. 

Pope Francis will have an intense schedule in the coming days. Apart from the unexpected, he must also prepare for his trip to Chile and Peru, which begins on January 15. 

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