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Thursday, December 18, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2003 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff published today the calendar of celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside during the Christmas season:


- Wednesday, 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. The Pope will celebrate Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica.

- Thursday, 25: Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord. At noon from the central balcony of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope will deliver his Christmas message to the world and will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

- Wednesday, 31: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at first vespers on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, during which the traditional 'Te Deum" hymn of thanksgiving will be sung for the conclusion of the civil year.


- Thursday, 1: Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. The Holy Father will preside at the celebration of the solemnity within the octave of Christmas in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. on the occasion of the 37th World Day of Peace on the theme 'An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace.' The Eucharist will be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State.

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