Schedule set for Pope Francis’ first Vatican Christmas

VATICAN CITY — At least liturgically, Pope Francis’ first Advent and Christmas at the Vatican will follow the schedule set during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.

Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, published Pope Francis’ liturgy schedule for December and January. According to the schedule released Nov. 26:

• Pope Francis will mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Dec. 8 with a visit to Rome’s Spanish Steps where he will pray before an image of Mary.

• At 9:30 p.m. Dec. 24 he will begin the celebration of Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

• On Christmas Day, at noon, he will address the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square and give his blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

• He will celebrate evening prayer Dec. 31 in St. Peter’s Basilica and lead the “Te Deum” to offer thanks to God for the year that is ending.

• Jan. 1, the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

• Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany, the pope will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

• On the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 12, he will celebrate Mass in the Sistine Chapel and baptize babies.