EWTN staff has a few days off for Christmas so it will be a few days until you hear from me again (however, I make space for important, breaking news) but you can always check my Facebook page ( or Twitter account @joansrome

I hope your Christmas will be happy, joy-filled and healthy and that you will be surrounded by family and friends and love and laughter! May the coming year truly be the best ever with good news stories, wonderful, happy moments with family and friends and, above all, for the entire planet, may it be a year of good health!

There are many wonderful traditions in Italy at Christmas and I’ve written a piece about that and, in fact, recorded it last weekend for Vatican Insider. I may just post the written version this weekend. One of the longtime and very great traditions here is the nativity scene. Simple or hugely elaborate, they are found in churches (of course), schools, homes, piazzas, restaurants and many stores.

One of the most famous since 1972 is that of the street sweepers of Rome’s waste management company, AMA. Here is a video EWTN produced of one of my visits to this nativity scene:   Joan’s Rome – Street Sweepers’ Nativity – YouTube

Some photos I’ve taken on visits –


Tune in this weekend for a Christmas edition of Vatican Insider. VI will air only on Sunday, December 26, due to special Christmas programs so, as you listen, Christmas will be “Christmas past!”

In place of an interview segment, I have a very special treat. I’m going to read Pope St. John Paul’s 1994 Christmas Message to Children occasioned by the 1994 Year of the Family. If you are a child – or a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle and have small children near you – this is for you!   I knew this wonderful Pope when I worked at the Vatican for many years and his love for families, for little children and for youth was powerful and beautiful – just like this letter! You might want to gather around your nativity scene as I read this.

You might want to gather around your nativity scene as I read this!

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