It’s the night before Christmas. For those of you who want to celebrate this religious holiday with a Mass, here are some options. We can’t help putting first the Pope’s Mass. The religious celebration by Benedict XVI will be held in St. Peter’s and will start at 10 pm. If you can’t make it to today’s Mass, you can always attend tomorrow’s Christmas Mass at 12 pm with the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the Central Loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
Another inspiring and fascinating basilica is S. Giovanni in Laterano, which was the Vatican’s main church until St. Peter’s, and is still part of the Vatican State. At 11.30 pm, accompanied by two Choirs – Rome Diocesis’ and Lateranense Music Chapel’s – Rome’s vicar bishop, Cardinal Vallini will celebrate Mass in what was the first of Rome’s four Basilicas and the Western World’s most ancient Basilica. Address: 4, S. Giovanni in Laterano Square.
If you are eager on attending a Catholic service in English, the beautifully baroque church of Santa Susanna shall be your destination. The Vigil Mass in Rome’s US national catholic temple will start at 7 pm in 14, Via XX Settembre.
A typically Roman Mass is held at Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, on the top of Campidoglio – 55, piazza del Campidoglio. The historical ceremony in which the famous richly-decorated and jeweled Baby Jesus statue is placed in the crib will begin at 11:30 pm.
For those who prefer an early Vigil Mass, Rome’s Caritas organizes a service at 5:30 pm at 109, via Marsala, very close to Termini station, accompanied by the University of Rome III’s polyphonic choir. The Mass will be celebrated by Rome Caritas’ head, Don Guerino di Tora, and will be attended by Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
Here is a list of Catholic Masses celebrated in other rites. In Santa Maria in Cosmedin there will be a Greek Catholic service. In San Nicola da Tolentino a Mass according to Armenian traditions will take place, probably the longest among those celebrated in Rome, accompanied by very touching music and colourful rituals. Indians of the Syro-Malabar rite will attend the Mass in Santa Caterina dei Funari. The Assyrian rite, particularly common among Iraqi catholics, will take place in Santa Maria della Concezione. Maronites will flock to San Marone church, while Egyptian Copts will head to S. Andrea del Vignola. Catholic Ucrainians will gather at SS Sergio and Bacco, while Romanians will celebrate at San Salvatore alle Coppelle. The main catholic church for the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities is San Tommaso di Parione, while for the Congolese, it is the Chiesa Annessa alla Natività di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo degli Agonizzanti.
However you would choose to celebrate 2010’s Christmas Eve, Buzz in Rome heartfully wishes you all a very Merry Christmas!