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Christmas Movie to Premiere at Vatican

By:
Nov 11, 2006 | 9:09am EST

A new movie about Christmas will make its world premiere at the Vatican this month.

The Nativity Story, which opens in the U.S. and Italy on Dec. 1, stars Oscar-nominated actress Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary and Oscar Isaac as Joseph.

It is not yet known if Pope Benedict XVI will attend the screening, according to his spokesperson Claudia Di Giovanni.

Filmmakers have invited 7,000 people to the premiere and will donate proceeds from the event towards construction of a school in a village of Mughar in Israel, just north of Nazareth, the town of Jesus' childhood.

The village has a diverse population, including Christians and Muslims, and is one of the towns hit by rockets fired by Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerillas over the summer.

Di Giovanni said the screening would be preceded by a reading from the Gospel and a prayer "to give a spiritual aspect" to the event.

She says the movie is believed to be the first feature film to have its premiere at the Vatican.

Earlier this year, Benedict watched a made-for-TV movie, Karol, A Pope Who Remained Man, at a screening at the Vatican about his predecessor John Paul II, who died in 2005.

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