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Information on the 30th Live, Worldwide Telecast 
of Papal Christmas Celebrations 

Coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications 


This year marks the 30th of the worldwide satellite telecasts of Papal Christmas celebrations. The broadcasts “in Mondovisione”, as they are also known, began officially in 1974 thanks to the efforts of the then Archbishop (now Cardinal) Andrzej Deskur, then President of the Pontifical Commission (now Council) for Social Communications, and the generous assistance of the Knights of Columbus who have continued to cover the costs of the satellite transmissions. 


This year’s worldwide Christmas telecasts are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Christmas Eve, 22:55 – 00:45 hours UTC (GMT)
Midnight Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Thursday, December 25, 2003
Christmas Day, 10:55 – 11:40 hours UTC (GMT)
Christmas Message and Blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City of Rome and to the World”) of Pope John Paul II from Saint Peter’s Square. 

Click here for satellite information and frequencies. 

The Vatican’s Christmas broadcasts are part of the seasonal, worldwide telecasts of papal ceremonies, including Good Friday, Easter and other major events. They are co-produced by the Vatican Television Center (CTV) and RAI, Italy’s state television network. The international transmissions are coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which offers commentary in six languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian).  This year Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will mark his 20th telecast in providing the TV commentary in English to a worldwide audience.         

Archbishop Foley says that the international telecasts of papal ceremonies are the most popular religious telecasts in the world. "These telecasts", he notes, "provide millions of people around the world, including many who are not Catholic, with a source of inspiration and consolation -- and a reminder of the true purpose of life." “The telecasts”, he says, “have added significance as this year the Church marks the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council Decree ‘INTER MIRIFICA’ on the means of social communication which highlights the wonderful technological discoveries which allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in new and innovative ways.” 

The new coordinator of the international telecasts is Thaddeus Jones (e-mail:, a former Vatican Radio journalist. He is working under the guidance of Father Antonio Stefanizzi, S.J., who began to coordinate the telecasts in 1974, and who continues to offer his expertise as a technical consultant for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and as a former director of Vatican Radio.   

The Vatican’s Internet Office will also be “webcasting” the Christmas celebrations via audio-video streaming, available through a link accessible on the Vatican’s homepage at: