The December 24 Vigil Mass hasn’t been at midnight since Benedict XVI’s days, but this year it will be at 7:30.
The pope’s Christmas Night Mass has been moved forward to 7:30 p.m. Rome time on Christmas Eve so that the very few people who will be able to participate in person can make it home in time for Italy’s 10 p.m. curfew.
A communiqué released by the Vatican press office on Thursday noted ceremonies for the Christmas festivities begin with Christmas Night Mass on December 24 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
This vigil Mass has not been at midnight since 2009; Pope Benedict XVI moved it to 10 p.m. For his first Christmas as pope, Francis moved it forward another half hour, to 9:30 p.m.
The “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City of Rome and the World) blessing will be on Christmas Day at noon.
On Thursday, December 31, Pope Francis will celebrate the First Vespers and the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the past year at 5 p.m. in St Peter’s Basilica.
On Friday, January 1, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and the 54th World Day of Peace, the pope will preside at Mass in St. Peter’s at 10 a.m.
Finally, on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. All times indicated refer to local Rome time.
Noting compliance with COVID-19 protection measures, the communiqué specified that only a limited number of participants will be present, and that they will be screened according to methods used in recent months to curb the spread of the virus.
All celebrations will be broadcast live on the media and streamed live on social media platforms.
Prior to the holiday appointments, the pope will preside over Mass for the 125th anniversary of the Coronation of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, December 12. Upon mandate of the pope the Apostolic Penitentiary has extended the possibility of obtaining a plenary indulgence to the faithful across the world who participate in that Mass from home.