Pope Francis will be celebrating his first Christmas at the Vatican as pontiff this year, and he has a busy schedule.
On Tuesday, the popular pope paid an early Christmas visit to his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, where the two exchanged greetings and prayed together. Later in the day, the Vatican’s life-size Nativity Scene will be inaugurated. Located in St. Peter’s Square, the scene was designed to resemble the first crèche of St. Francis of Assisi.
At 9:30 p.m. CET (3:30 p.m. EST, 2:30 p.m. CST, 12:30 p.m. PST) Pope Francis will host the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where thousands of pilgrims are expected to attend. A live stream of the ceremony is available below:
On Christmas Day, Pope Francis will pronounce the traditional Christmas Day blessing and address “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world). In the past, popes have used this time to make general comments about the world concerns, including the conflict in Syria. But Pope Francis may also reference global poverty, youth unemployment and care for the elderly -- issues he has demonstrated concern for in the past.
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The address will begin at 12 p.m. CET (6:00 a.m. EST). A live stream of the event is available below: