Vatican will welcome Christmas with carols this year

Every year, the Vatican unveils a Nativity scene at Christmas. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is planning to sing its way into the Christmas season this year, with a chorus and orchestra leading Christmas carols at the annual unveiling of its Nativity scene.

The hour-long evening ceremony Dec. 24 will feature traditional Christmas songs in several languages, performed by a 100-person choir and orchestra in St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican is arranging for worldwide television broadcast of the event, according to Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He described it as a “sung meditation” on Christmas.

As usual, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to bless the gathering from his apartment window above the square.

Vatican workers were already building this year’s Nativity scene, which features larger-than-life statues of the Holy Family and the Magi, plus new elements each year.

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