Christmas in Rome. If you who want to celebrate this religious holiday attending Mass, here we suggest some venues in the Eternal City.
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 on December 24. If you can’t make it to Christmas Eve’s Mass, you can always attend Christmas day’s Mass at 12 pm with the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the Central Loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
Another inspiring 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. On December 24 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.
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 midnight (church is open from 11pm) and will be accompanied by the Melos ensemble choir. Rome’s city police Choir will perform at the 12pm Mass on Christmas day.
A very fascinating mass service should be that hosted by the Pantheon on the 24th at midnight.
Another very central location is the huge church of S. Maria degli Angeli. Mass starts at 11:30pm but from 10pm you can enjoy the impressive choir and organ.
If you are a traditionalist and love your Mass to be held in Latin, Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini, in the heart of Rome, near Via Giulia, is a good choice with their masses at midnight and at 9am and 10:30am of Christmas day.
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 the head of the Italian Caritas, mons. Enrico Feroci, and will be attended by many city representatives.
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 7:05 pm in 14, Via XX Settembre. But before that – at 4:30pm – we strongly encourage you to attend the Children’s Pageant Mass, a very touching ceremony. On Christmas Day there are Masses at 9am and 10:30am.
Other services are held in English in Rome for Protestants.
The American Episcopal church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls, in Via Nazionale, holds a service at 11pm, with music starting at 10:30, accompanied by an outstanding choir.
St Andrews Presbyterian Church of Scotland’s service begins at 6:30pm on Christmas Eve and at 11am on the 25th.
While the Anglican church of All Saints, between the Spanish steps and Piazza del Popolo, holds Mass Services at 11:30 pm on the 24th and at 8:30am and 10:30am on Christmas day.
Finally 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. At 6pm on Dec.24, at 11am on Dec.25.
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 2011′s Christmas, BuzzInRome heartfully wishes you all a very Merry Christmas!