Claudio Peri, Pool, Associated Press
Pope Benedict XVI arrives for an audience with the Curia for Christmas greetings, in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011. The Pope met with Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia for an exchange of greetings ahead of the year end festivities.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI kicks off a busy two weeks of Christmas celebrations with an evening Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Midnight Mass was moved up to 10 p.m. a few years ago to spare the 84-year-old pontiff such a late night.

Benedict will celebrate the Mass, and then after a few hours rest will deliver his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" speech — Latin for "to the city and the world," where Benedict usually reflects on the hardships facing the world, and ends with Christmas greetings delivered in dozens of languages.

Next weekend, Benedict will preside over a New Year's Eve vespers service and New Year's Day Mass, followed by an Epiphany Mass on Jan. 6 and his traditional baptizing of babies in the Sistine Chapel two days later.