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Perspectives Daily – Monday, Dec. 19


Tonight on Perspectives: The Pope visits prisoners and finds common ground. Plus, two North American women are on the verge of Sainthood.

Last rites for the Pope’s Christmas tree

In my hometown of Deep River, Ontario, my family was usually among the last to put up the Christmas tree. Likewise, we waited weeks before pitching our dessicated fir to the curb.

It was not due to the liturgical calendar that we observed the custom later than our neighbhours. We just weren’t in much of a hurry. And because I loved to light up the tree after school, I would persuade my parents to keep the now-sparsely-needled tree well past its best-before date.

So naturally, I appreciate the Vatican’s tradition of displaying its majestic tree in St. Peter’s Square until February 2nd, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. That was the schedule this year, until circumstances forced a change of plans. The Rome bureau of Catholic News Service provides the following report:

Christmas Eve Mass live on Salt + Light this Friday

There’s a 93-year old, 100-foot-tall Norway Spruce in St. Peter’s Square these days.

It’s the Vatican’s Christmas tree for this year.

The spruce, along with 50 other trees, have been donated by the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone.

Speaking to a delegation from the diocese, the Pope says the tree is a significant symbol of the light of Christ.

The Holy Father says the Nativity scene, also in the Square, and the tree offer an invitation to unity and peace and “an invitation to make room, in our life and in society, for God, who offers us his omnipotent love through the fragile figure of a Child, because he wants us to respond freely to his love with our own love.”

And we invite you to join the Holy Father for Christmas Eve Mass, live this Friday, December 24th at 4:00pm ET, or catch the encore at 11:00pm ET or 8:00pm PT.

Visit the Papal events page for more Papal programming between Christmas and New Year’s.  You can see Advent and Christmas reflections from  Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, and Bishop William McGrattan, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, here as well.

CNS Photo/Paul Haring