Urbi et Orbi: Christmas blessing from Pope Francis

Vatican publishes pope's Christmas schedule.

Pope Francis will celebrate the 'Midnight Mass' on Christmas Eve at 19.30, the same time as last year.

Covid protocols will be in place in St Peter's Basilica including mandatory masks, temperature checks and socially-distanced seating arrangements.

Despite its name, the Christmas Eve Mass has not been celebrated at midnight at the Vatican since 2009 after Pope Benedict XVI moved it to 22.00, reports Crux.

In 2013 the newly-elected Pope Francis moved the Midnight Mass to 21.30 before bringing it forward to 19.30 last year to allow the faithful to get home in time for the covid curfew then in effect in Italy.

On Christmas Day the pontiff will impart his traditional Christmas blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) at midday from the balcony above St Peter's Square.

Both the Midnight Mass and the Urbi et Orbi blessing will be live-streamed on the Facebook page of Vatican News and the YouTube channel of Vatican Media.

Photo credit: Riccardo De Luca - Update / Shutterstock.com.

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Address Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

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Urbi et Orbi: Christmas blessing from Pope Francis

Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City