Christmas at the Vatican: Here Are the Liturgies Pope Francis Will Offer This Year

The Vatican has published Pope Francis’ Christmas schedule for this year, which includes five special liturgies and prayers between Christmas Eve and the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Pope Francis celebrates Christmas Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 24, 2018.
Pope Francis celebrates Christmas Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 24, 2018. (photo: National Catholic Register / Vatican Media)

The Vatican has published Pope Francis’ Christmas schedule for this year, which includes five special liturgies and prayers between Christmas Eve and the Solemnity of the Epiphany. 

During the Christmas Octave, the Pope is also scheduled to give an Angelus address on St. Stephen’s Day on Dec. 26 and hold a Wednesday general audience on Dec. 29.

Papal Christmas Mass, Dec. 24

Pope Francis celebrates Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Dec. 25, 2019. .  Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Pope Francis celebrates midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 25, 2019. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Pope Francis will offer Mass for the Nativity of the Lord in St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 24. This “midnight Mass” will begin at 7:30pm Rome time (1:30pm EST) with the traditional Kalenda Proclamation of the Birth of Christ and will be broadcast live on EWTN.

Christmas Day Blessing, Dec. 25

Pope Francis gives the Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" blessing Dec. 25, 2018. .  Vatican Media.

Pope Francis gives the Christmas blessing Dec. 25, 2018. | National Catholic Register/Vatican Media

On Christmas Day, Pope Francis will give a traditional papal blessing at noon called the Urbi et Orbi, which in Latin means, “To the City and the World.” Along with the blessing, the Pope gives an address that highlights humanitarian crises, war-stricken countries, and other situations around the world in need of prayer. 

The Pope typically gives this blessing from the central loggia of the basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square (the same balcony from which a new pope is introduced), but last year Pope Francis gave the blessing from inside the Apostolic Palace to avoid a large gathering of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vespers on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica Dec. 31, 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Pope Francis holds a monstrance in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 31, 2017. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Pope Francis will pray the First Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5pm on Dec. 31. After vespers, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for Eucharistic adoration, and the Te Deum will be sung in thanksgiving for the past year.

Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God, Jan. 1

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Jan. 1, 2020. .  Pablo Esparza/CNA.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1, 2020. | Pablo Esparza/CNA

The Pope’s first liturgy of 2022 will be in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis will offer Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10am. On this day, Pope Francis will also mark the 55th World Day of Peace.

Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord, Jan. 6

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord in St. Peter's Basilica Jan. 6, 2021. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord in St. Peter's Basilica on Jan. 6, 2021. | National Catholic Register/Vatican Media

Pope Francis will offer Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10am. The Epiphany celebrates the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God. It focuses primarily on this revelation to the Three Wise Men.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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