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Vatican Christmas concert will highlight Church universality, honor east Asian missions

.- The Vatican announced today that its annual Christmas concert, scheduled for December 3rd, will be dedicated this year to the support of Catholic missions in east Asia.

The Vatican's traditional Christmas concert will be held in the Paul VI Hall at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. This year it will be dedicated to missions in the east.

A Holy See communique, released earlier today, stated that the concert aims "to raise public awareness concerning the question of the Church's missionary vocation and to gather funds to support missions in east Asia."

The Vatican noted that one reason for this particular theme is that “2006 has been proclaimed as the 'Xavierian Year' (in honor of the patron of missions St. Francis Xavier, on the fifth centenary of his birth), of which the concert will officially mark the opening."

The concert, which will be held in the Paul VI Hall, will include various pieces from a new musical on the life of the saint called, "Xavier - dreaming of China."

The Jesuit saint traveled to China on his last missionary journey but fell ill on the island of Sancian, 100 kilometers off the Chinese coast. He died there on December 3, 1552.

A global range of artists will descend on Rome to take part in the concert which, according to today’s statement, symbolizes “the encounter between a diversity of countries, cultures, religions, life experiences, ideals, and musical genres and styles…in order to highlight once again the universality of the Church."

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