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As Vatican Christmas tree goes up, Pope’s Christmas schedule revealed

The Vatican Christmas tree is positioned in St Peter's Square (CNS)

As a towering spruce tree was erected in St Peter’s Square, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s liturgy schedule for Advent, Christmas and the month of January.

The 82-feet-tall Christmas tree arrived in the square on November 24.

According to the papal calendar released by the Vatican the same day:

— Pope Francis will celebrate an evening Mass on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass will include ancient liturgical hymns composed in indigenous languages, including Nahuatl, Quechua, Mapuche and Guarani. The Sistine Chapel Choir be will joined the Latin American Choir under the direction of conductor Eduardo Notrica.

— The Pope will celebrate Christmas Mass at 9.30 p.m. December 24 in St. Peter’s Basilica.

— Pope Francis will give his Christmas blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) at noon December 25 from the central balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square.

— December 31 in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will preside over evening prayer and the singing of the “Te Deum” in thanksgiving for the year that is ending.

— The Pope will celebrate a Morning Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on January 1, the World Day of Prayer for Peace and the feast of Mary, Mother of God.

— On January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

— On the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 8, the Pope will celebrate Mass in the Sistine Chapel and baptise several babies.

— Pope Francis will preside over an ecumenical evening prayer service on January 25, the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The service concludes the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.