The pope will break with tradition this year and celebrate Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10pm instead of midnight, the Vatican announced today.
A spokesman said the decision to change the schedule was made two months ago to “ease the (pope’s) fatigue at a time when there are many ceremonies and commitments” during Christmas holidays.
He said there was no reason to worry about the health of the 82-year-old pope. He said Vatican aides decided to “stretch out his strength” and the pontiff agreed.
On noon on Christmas Day the pope will read a holiday message from the central balcony of the basilica as crowds gather in the square.