Pope Francis Meets Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Again: Exchange Christmas Wishes
By Carlton Cook
Pope Francis is gearing up for his first Christmas at the Vatican as pontiff. He began by exchanging Christmas wishes with his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI. Pope Francis paid an early Christmas visit to his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, on Monday in the monastery Mater Ecclesia in the Vatican gardens.
The two warmly greeted each other and prayed briefly in Benedict's chapel. They had a private conversation and exchanged Christmas wishes . Pope Francis also greeted the small staff that cares for his predecessor.
On Tuesday, the Vatican's life-sized Nativity Scene, located in St. Peter's Square, will be inaugurated. This year's manger scene is a typical Neapolitan depiction of the birth of Jesus and was designed to recall the first crèche of St. Francis of Assisi.
Then, on Tuesday evening, Pope Francis will preside at the Christmas Vigil at St. Peter's Basilica. Thousands of pilgrims are expected to attend the Mass, which will begin at 9:30 p.m., Rome time, and end at around midnight.
At noon on Christmas Day, the Pope will pronounce the traditional Christmas Day address, Urbi et Orbi.
Pope Francis will once again address the faithful at a noon Angelus the following day, on the Feast of St. Stephen.