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Christmas Mass to reach 72 countries

Midnight Mass from St Peter's Basilica, and the Pope's Urbi et Orbi message at midday Rome time, will be televised live to 72 different countries, including Australia.

The Mass will be shown on the ABC at 11:00 am nationally on Christmas morning. The telecast will be live in NSW, VIC, TAS and the ACT, and in delay to states in other time zones.

Catholic World News reports that the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has announced that 111 television broadcasters will air the midnight Mass across five continents, while 114 networks will carry the Pope's traditional message on Christmas Day.

In Europe the broadcast will be available to audiences in 38 countries; in the Americas (North and South) to 19 countries. The Mass will be telecast to nations as diverse as Algeria and Russia, Burundi and Turkey, Israel and India. The Knights of Columbus in the US have provided financing to allow satellite transmission to several countries where it might otherwise be unavailable.

The broadcast Mass will not be available in China. But at midnight Beijing time, a Christmas Mass will be celebrated in Chinese in the studios of Vatican Radio and broadcast live to that country.

Pietro Chiami, who manages Chinese-language programming for Vatican Radio, explains that the radio broadcast has been offered for 20 years.

"It gives the Catholics of China the opportunity to follow the Mass-- particularly those who cannot, for different reasons, find a church to attend," he said.

Pope Pius XII inaugurated the practice of broadcasting the Christmas Mass from the Vatican basilica, in 1954. For years the telecast was available only in Europe, until in 1969 it was made available in Chile and Argentina. Five years later, the first satellite broadcasts were transmitted from the Vatican, and 44 countries had access to the Christmas Mass celebrated by Pope Paul VI in 1974. The span of the broadcast has grown steadily with the increasing sophistication of the electronic media.

The telecast will also be available live on the Internet, through the websites of Vatican TV and the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

Christmas Mass telecast to reach 72 countries (Catholic World News 23/12/04)

Midnight Mass From St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (ABC TV)
CTV - Vtaican Television Centre
Eternal Word Television Network schedule

Pontifical Council for Social Communications

Pope voices hopes for Ukraine (Catholic World News 22
Cell-phone service to carry Vatican Christmas events (Catholic World News 23/12/04)
The Pope's teaching at the general audience: "In the Mystery of Christmas we contemplate a 'leap in quality' in the history of salvation. Although our sin has separated us from God, in Christ we are offered the gift of a new and fuller communion with Him" (Fides 22/12/04)
Pope: our hearts do not fear because we have faith in the Child of Bethlehem (Independent Catholic News/Fides 23/12/04)
Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way (Sydney Morning Herald 24/12/04)
Pre-Christmas Address (Zenit 22/12/04)

24 Dec 2004