Christmas with the pope online

Pope Benedict XVI walks near a figurine the baby Jesus as he prepares to give Communion during last year's Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Celebrating Christmas with the pope at home or on the go couldn’t be easier. All you need is an Internet connection or an iPhone.

Today the Vatican announced that it is offering a new “Smooth Streaming” service to broadcast papal Christmas events via the websites of Vatican Radio, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the council’s Pope2you site and iPhone.

The CNS Crossplayer, available on client websites such as this, also offers a “Vatican Live” feed from the Vatican Television Center of papal ceremonies in addition to other colorful content produced by CNS staff in Washington DC and Rome.

The new “Smooth Streaming” technology means people will experience top quality video in high definition.

The papal events that will be broadcast live over the Internet and iPhone are the following (listed in local Rome time):

Christmas Eve Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica Friday Dec. 24 starting at 10pm.

Christmas Day message and “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from St. Peter’s Square Sat. Dec. 25 starting at 12 noon.

Mass for World Day of Peace from St. Peter’s Basilica Sat. Jan. 1 starting at 10am.

Live commentary will be available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese) and one channel will offer live audio with no commentary.

Commentary in Chinese will be available for the Christmas Eve Mass and commentary in Arabic will be offered for New Year’s Day.

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