Christmas schedule reduced for John-Paul II

Source: FSSPX News


John-Paul II will preside over all the liturgical celebrations of Christmas time, but will have to forego, as he did last year, the episcopal ordinations of January 6 and the baptism of infants on the feast day of the Baptism of Christ, in the Sistine Chapel.

The pope will celebrate the Solemnity of Christmas, December 24, 2004 at midnight in St. Peter’s Basilica, but not the Mass of Christmas Day. This has been the case now for several years already. He will give the noon blessing Urbi et Orbi, to the city of Rome and to the world. He will enter St. Peter’s Square to address his good wishes in more than 60 languages. Observers find it unlikely that he will be able to read the messages in their entirety.

On December 31 at 6:00 p.m., John-Paul II will preside over First Vespers, at the end of which will be sung the Te Deum, thus concluding the civil year. On January 1, 2005 the pope will assist at the mass celebrated on the occasion of the 38th World Day of Peace. This mass, which will take place in the presence of the diplomatic corps, will be concelebrated by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, and among others, Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

At the beginning of his pontificate, at Christmas the pope would go to a hospital to visit sick children or he would visit the Roman garbage collectors’ crèche. These visits are no longer part of his schedule, due to his frail health.