Christmas Mass during the Night in St. Peter's Basilica Christmas Mass during the Night in St. Peter's Basilica 

Pope celebrates Christmas remembering those suffering in wars

The Vatican's customary briefing on the papal Christmas celebrations broadcast globally offers details on the Christmas Mass during the Night and the Christmas Day Message and Urbi at Orbi blessing, which has a special emphasis on remembering the Ukrainian people and all those suffering in wars around the world.

By Andrea De Angelis

The number of faithful around the world who will follow the Vatican's Christmas celebrations is increasing thanks to digital technologies and sign language services allowing for even wider participation. Presenters underscored this dimension at the Christmas briefing at the Vatican held every year on the morning of 24 December, as well as details on the liturgies and broadcasts of papal Christmas celebrations to broadcasters in Rome and remotely, as well as those preparing their own live translation and coverage. 

The briefing took place in the Marconi Hall of Vatican Radio's Palazzo Pio with deputy editorial director Alessandro Gisotti presenting the information, together with Stefano D'Agostini, coordinator of the Audiovisual Production area of the Dicastery for Communication, and Roberto Romolo, head of International Relations, Broadcast, News and Mondovisioni. 

Seven satellites and even more languages

The Dicastery for Communication handles the worldwide television distribution that will begin with the Christmas eve Mass during the Night, starting at 19:20 Rome time, and the Christmas Day Message and Urbi et Orbi Blessing, at 11:55 local time. A tradition going back to 1974, the global broadcasts are made possible thanks to a grant from the Knights of Columbus Foundation. Ensuring satellite distribution around the world, the live broadcasts are also part of the Eurovision distribution and are made available on seven satellites, one more than last year, covering all continents.

The Christmas eve Mass will include the participation of around 120 broadcast media outlets and networks, while close to 170 for the Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi. Those linked up also offer distributions that can be continental or regional through broadcast feeds provided to various international agencies, allowing for a global web and even capillary distribution and coverage. Vatican News will provide live streaming on the Vatican News website and on Facebook with live translation and commentary in eight languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Chinese and Arabic both on Christmas eve and Christmas day. 

Remembering those suffering due to war

Alessandro Gisotti explained that following two years of the pandemic, this Christmas will be marked by suffering due to the war in Ukraine and for all people hurt by often forgotten conflicts around the world to which Pope Francis has called attention on many occasions, praying for peace in our world. He recalled words from the Pope's 2023 Message for the World Day of Peace and how the virus of war is even more difficult to defeat than viruses affecting the human body. 

Recalling the various nationalities represented at the Christmas Mass during the Night, Alessandro Gisotti noted that the floral homage taken in procession to the Basilica's Nativity Scene will include children from Italy, India, the Philippines, Mexico, San Salvador, Korea and Congo, the country that - together with South Sudan - Pope Francis will visit at the end of January. The prayers of the faithful will be read in Chinese, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Malayalam, also to underscore the universality of the Church and of the universal event of the Lord's birth. 

On Christmas day, Pope Francis will give his message followed by his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica and accompanied on either side by Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.

Sign Language service and sub-titling

Vatican Media this Christmas will also provide translation services in LIS, Sign Language (plus sub-titling) for people with hearing and communication challenges. In particular, there is a live channel for translation into LIS (Italian Sign Language) at and a deferred-upload channel for ASL (American Sign Language) The Vatican News Youtube channel dedicated to LIS, in collaboration with Italy's TV2000 broadcaster and Sister Veronica Donatello, Consulter to the Dicastery for Communication and head of Italy's National Service for the Pastoral Care of People with Disabilities of the Italian Episcopal Conference, the LIS translation services will be offered via live streaming of tonight's Mass and tomorrow's Urbi et Orbi. As part of the Dicastery's "No one left out" project, the "Vatican for All" app is now online, downloadable on Google Play and Apple Store platforms, and aimed at providing access to news and content on the activities of the Pope and the Holy See reaching all people.

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24 December 2022, 15:02