THE highlight of the Pope's Christmas will be Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in St Peter's Basilica, broadcast live around the world.
After saying Mass at 10.15 am on Christmas Day he will give the traditional Urbi et Ortu blessing ("to the city and the world") from the balcony of the basilica.
On New Year's Eve, Pope John Paul will take part in a traditional Te Deum of thanksgiving at the Church of the Gesu in central Rome, and the following day will give his New Year message, this year on the role of young people in the cause of peace.
During the Advent preparations of the weeks before Christmas, the Pope has stressed the need for preparation in the awareness that Christ will come again. "Let us live the Advent of the year of our Lord 1984 as the time of the return and the visit of God", the Pope said at his latest weekly audience. "May He protect in man and the whole visible world all that his right hand has established".