How was Christmas?

What did you wind up doing for Christmas?

Let us know about the good content of sermons you heard.

Get anything special?  Give anything special?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father Steve says:

    I see you are headed to the Met from your plurk. Don’t miss the St. Jerome of Goya. It is a replica (painted by Goya some years after the original) that you see at the Frick. The Met is amazing! God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  2. JohnMa says:

    I was pleasantly surprised to find a Solemn High TLM for the Christmas Day Mass. Our chaplain, who served as Deacon for the Mass, preached about St. Joseph. He explained how Joseph never speaks during the gospels but instead listened to God and was a man of action. He did what God asked him to do. He then went on to say that Catholics should do the same thing, and listen to what God is asking them to do and then take action.

  3. Jaybirdnbham says:

    Christmas eve 9pm Mass at my parish was truly wonderful. Our pastor spoke on the need to be thankful for all that God has done for us, especially every time we look at a nativity scene. There was something really special about that Mass, and it seemed as if there were thousands of angels celebrating there with us that evening.
    And Christmas day, my sons and I ate chinese food and watched the DVD of the newest Star Trek movie. Great movie! Seeing the younger Spock talking to his older self (Nimoy) gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “talking to yourself”. :-)

  4. Lee says:

    We left the family party early and make the trek in rotten weather to the midnight Mass at the Shrine of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on Chicago’s south side. In a word, it was magnificent. Only then did I really feel it was Christmas. I am so grateful to these dedicated men of the Institute who, under difficult conditions, bring the beautiful traditions and reverence back to my life and the liturgy.

  5. Melania says:

    Our Christmas has been dominated by my father’s impending death, which could happen now at any time. Our time has been more filled with anxiety and concern for his comfort and prayers for his soul than with the joy of our Savior’s birth; however, that was there too. We have been greatly assisted and comforted by family and friends.

    I missed the TLM in our area because it did not fit our schedule. I went to a 10:30 am NO Mass locally which was rather quiet. The pastor spoke about the transformation brought to the world by the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago and the transformation He can have now in the lives of each of us.

  6. MargaretMN says:

    Went to the earliest Mass possible on Christmas eve at Holy Family in St. Louis Park, MN. Then to some friends’ house for pizza and to hear performances by their exceptionally musically talented kids. Very christmassy. Since Thursday night we haven’t left the house except to shovel snow once in a while.

  7. benyanke says:

    Our midnight mass was truly Awesome. We had our wonderful bishop, along with our 2 transitional deacons from our diocese, and for the first time (that I’ve seen), the bishop used a mapile (please excuse the spellin’). We had so many servers, I could barely handle them all. Luckily we had about 5 seminarians helping out too.

  8. Flambeaux says:

    A snowstorm hit the Metroplex and we had about 2.5 inches of snow at our house for a very white Christmas. Kids and in-laws were thrilled.

    Made it to Missa in Noctem in the EF, served Mass of Dawn in Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, and brought the whole family to Mass of the Day in the Anglican Use.

    Received from my wife a Liber Usualis and a leather Angelus Press 1962 Daily Missal. YAY!
    Gave her two new mantillas, one in ivory and one in silver. Also gave her a chinois for use in making stocks, soups, and sauces.

    Kids got lots of good things (mostly from relatives), including a book on castles, D’Aulaire’s Norse Myths, a train set, and lots of Playmobil Egyptians (my oldest now wants to reenact the Exodus).

    Good food, good time with family and friends, and 11 more days to celebrate.

    Happy Christmas, all!

  9. irishgirl says:

    Went to my small TLM chapel, where there was a procession at the start of Mass to place the image of the Infant Jesus in the manger. The priest preached a very good homily-at the start he mentioned King Henry V and his wife Queen Catherine of Valois. When Henry died and his nine-month-old son Henry succeeded as Henry VI, his mother ‘crowned’ her son by taking a bracelet from her wrist and putting it on his head. I like the priests who say our Masses; they always start out their sermons with a story.

    Our ‘tiny choir’ sang pretty good, though there was an organ ‘glitch’ at the end with the last ‘Dominum’ of ‘Adeste Fideles’! Oh, well….

    I went to dinner at the home of one of the parishioners. He and his daughter always sit in the same pew as me. I got a gift bag from him and his family that included a card with FIFTY BUCKS inside, a battery-operated toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste [he comes from a family of dentists], and an Applebee’s gift card. I also got a little gift bag from the organist. She gave me and the other singers a notepad, a tiny angel ornament, a holy water font, a round Nativity fridge magnet, and a pen.

    Dinner at the dentist’s house was PRIME RIB, with mashed potatoes, squash, lobster Thermidor, three-bean casserole, and several desserts. I got a plate of leftovers to take home with me, along with a big plate of cookies and a plate with two pieces of pumpkin pie and one piece of chocolate cake.

    The weather held off till after I got home-it was cloudy but calm-then it rained overnight with strong winds. Thank God I left when everyone else did….

  10. beez says:

    My pastor used the phrase “there was no room” to challenge us to ask ourselves, “Have I been so busy with all of the trappings of Christmas that I have forgotten Christ?” He talked about Mary and Joseph’s poverty, and still of Mary’s yes to Christ. He spoke about Jesus residing below Mary’s beating heart for nine months, and then reminded us that at communion, we are invited to share in that true union with Jesus ourselves. Then, well then he did my favorite thing.

    He asked the whole congregation to prepare themselves to receive communion and, he informed them that after everyone had received, he would purify the vessels and sit in his chair. There would be no music for three minutes. He invited everyone to kneel or sit after communion in silence, not to pray with words, but just to experience the gift of the Word made Flesh who dwelt within us in a particular way that evening/morning, and to be in true communion with him.

    After communion (at the Midnight Mass) more than 250 people in our small, rural church sat in complete silence doing what Father had asked. It was beautiful. I wish it happened every week.

  11. priest up north says:

    This will be a Christmas to remember – because of snow.

    Midnight Mass at the small, outlying parish I serve (16 miles from the other parish, where the rectory is) was truly wonderful – inspite of snow and wind outside. The trip home was a pilgrimage of prayer. I think my car’s max speed (Chevy Impala) through the tire treads that I could see on the highway topped out at about 35 mph…I arrived at the rectory to find that the city plows were trying to keep the street near our church/school building as open as possible (thank you, city of Proctor), but my driveway had been plowed in. 15 minutes later, I was finally inside, saying prayers of Thanksgiving…

  12. fatheranthonyho says:

    In Vancouver, I celebrated 4 Christmas Masses (including the Vigil Mass on the 24th). I preached about Jesus as Prophet, Priest, & King.

    Prophet: He is not only the Messenger of God. He is the Message. By contemplating the Infant Jesus, we learn about the Love of God. Jesus was born in humiliation, proverty, and suffering to expiate the pride, covetousness, and sensuality of men.

    Priest: We are born to live, but only He was born to die. I preached about the connection between the Crib and the Cross. And the conntection between the Crib and the Altar.

    King: the three-fold birth of Christ– eternal birth of the Word, birth as man, and birth in souls by grace. We need to choose light, not darkness.

    Also I baptized and confirmed an elderly man on Christmas day and heard Confessions for people.

    Here are some photos and the recordings of my 15 min. Christmas sermon:

    Hopefully you won’t be scandalize by the applause at the beginning of my sermon. I didn’t expect that to happen.

    A very prayerful Christmas with lots of celebration of the Sacraments and Liturgical Rites.

  13. Catherine L. says:

    No TLM here on Christmas. However, we were able to attend a beautiful NO Mass Christmas Eve in the basement of the church where I grew up. Simply Mass! No skits, no extra characters or Kodak moments. Simply Mass! NO can be beautiful when the focus is on God alone. Such a blessing to have been able to find this on Christmas. We are thankful!

  14. benyanke: I am hoping that your bishop used that maniple for a Novus Ordo Mass!

  15. Jack Hughes says:

    awful – first time serving solo for the Tridentine Mass, botched my latin, screwed up the rubrics ect ect – supprised my parish priest didn’t blast me when we reached the sacristry, feel awful for letting down the 30 or so people who came from miles around.

  16. Felicitas says:

    For Christmas Day homily, our pastor read from the writings of St. Athanasius on the Incarnation.

  17. Father Ignotus says:

    Jack: take it easy on yourself. You’re human and Jesus still came. You’ll get better.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    I went to Midnight Mass which I like to do each year. The weather was a bit iffy, so I went locally, which made me remember why I don’t usually go locally. Weird, weird, weird. That’s all I can say about it right now.

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    Among other things, they handed out a copy of Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscovering Catholicism” at the end of mass. FYI, Matthew Kelly is a motivational speaker, pure and simple–does presentations for big businesses when he’s not out speaking at Catholic venues. Read smooth happy talk with a professional flourish.

    The priest said more than once, with visible disgust, that he was handing the book out on Christmas so that even the people he only saw on Christmas would get a copy. He’s only been here for about 6 months and he’s a foreign priest (Indian?). I don’t usually go to mass at my home parish so I don’t know what else has been going on here.

    The “homily” was interactive and included a skit. Arrgh.

  20. Rose in NE says:

    One word—blizzard! We were unable to get to our FSSP parish which is on the other end of town, which was very disappointing. So we ended up going to the nearest church to us after we had dug the huge snowdrifts out of the driveway Christmas morning. Let’s just say that the 90 year old priest who offered Mass is a bit forgetful and a few parts were missing. Oh well, Jesus was present and our family was together. Much to be thankful for this Christmas.

  21. Girgadis says:

    Best gift was getting my husband and autistic son to agree to go the TLM with me on Christmas Day. My husband, a few years my senior, was an altar server in the pre-Vatican II days and I’m hoping the Mass was more for him than a trip down memory lane. He loved the music and like me, found it nothing short of miraculous that such sounds were coming from the organ and choir loft of our church. My son was thrilled that there was no chatter during or after the Mass. He was very funny before we got there, insisting he shouldn’t go because he doesn’t speak Latin. I told him so long as Father does, it’s not a problem. Midnight Mass in the OF with my girls the night before. Sermon was the same and worth hearing twice – the anticipation of the world for the Messiah and how we should have the same longing at every Mass for Jesus in the Eucharist. Also, the adoration of the angels and shepherds and how we have that opportunity at every Eucharist.

    Christmas Eve was the Feast of 7 Fishes at my parents’ house, Christmas Dinner was at our house with everyone and tomorrow, I get to do it all over again for my husband’s 5 siblings and assorted nieces and nephews.

    Father Z, I would love to have seen the look on the Jewish deli owner’s face when a Catholic priest sat down to lunch in his restaurant on Christmas Day! Perhaps there it’s not so unusual as it might be here. I love Jewish deli food. BTW, I offered a little prayer for you yesterday when I was making some appetizers – Adriatic fig spread on crostini with gorgonzola and prosciutto.

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    I am, however, grateful that the power outage was *after* dinner, not before… Next Christmas will be better.

  23. JohnE says:

    Our priest had a great homily about the wise men and shepherds who were seeking “something”, which was actually a “someone” who is really here in the Catholic Church. Knowing that many who are in attendance are non-Catholic or non-practicing Catholics, he invited them to return home, come to confession, and return to the sacraments.

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    John, your priest obviously has more tact than ours does. Heh.

  25. robert l says:

    I was able to serve the High Mass at Midnight at a small convent chapel as well as the Low Mass in the morning for the larger chapel. The same priest said both Masses, giving different sermons at both, and then had to drive 3hrs away for his last Mass of the day.
    I was able to have a late morning dinner with friends, including a couple nuns, and later on with a friend and his large family. Turkey at one, lasagna at another. When I finally got home, I was ready to hit the hay.

  26. wolfeken says:

    The traditional Latin Mass at midnight (actually at midnight!) at the FSSP chapel in north New Jersey was packed and beautiful. One thing of note was the large choir made up of mostly teenagers. It sure is nice to have a school connected with an FSSP church. The young adults there had a good handle on both Gregorian chant (including full verses) and polyphony for the High Mass.

  27. lucy says:

    We had a beautiful high Mass at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. A priest from FSSP came to say our Mass for us. Our girls’ choir sang beautifully with the schola chanting beautifully as well. A wonder to behold.

    Then our priest shared dinner with us and another family.

    As for presents – I received a Keurig home brewing machine which is fantastic !!!

  28. dmwallace says:

    My wife and I brought home on Christmas Day our second child, Peter Dominic, the little one having been born on December 23. Deo gratias!

  29. jenne says:

    It was a lovely intimate mass in our small town in CA. I’ve never heard this particular line of thought: St Joseph, having known his scripture, knew that Mary’s Son was to be born in Bethlehem. But how to get him there? He can’t just up and leave and tell people, well you know he is the Messiah and needs to be born in Bethlehem. So when the decree came out he would have thought, there’s the way. God provides. Our homily also talked of how St joseph must have felt, not being able to provide for Mary and the Son of God when they arrived in Bethlehem. What turmoil he may have encountered not knowing how to provide adequately for the family. Yet this is what God willed. Our priest challenged us in our faith to try and understand that we have ideas about what is good and then God has His. That this time in our lives, hardships, loss of jobs, etc. is not a time of abandoning God but of looking for His will.

    Funny we too were told that there were copies of Rediscovering Catholicism available especially for those who do not come regularly to Mass. A letter was read which encouraged people to receive this book.

    Merry Christmas!
    still pregnant

  30. Frank H says:

    Our 10 pm Mass on Christmas Eve (Ordinary Form) included, to my delight, instructions from the Priest to genuflect during the Creed – first time in my 17 years at this Parish, much more chant by him than usual, incense – nearly unheard of here – and the Roman Canon, also a rarity. Best of all, our seminarian son served the Mass.

    On the downside, the six kids in a family a couple rows in front of us talked and squirmed the entire Mass. They were old enough to know better had they been taught. There was mass confusion among them at Communion, so I’m guessing perhaps only the mom was Catholic and the dad and kids were along for the ride. They departed right after Communion.

  31. Dr. Eric says:

    While the Mass, along with the homily, was lackluster, I did get a gift pack from Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in Kansas City from my mother-in-law!

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    I wonder how many parishes are handing out these books? The author has a couple of organizations he runs in tandem, one of which is supposed to be Catholic, and that’s where these books are coming from. This might not be such a good development–do your homework! I’m told that they do have a purchase cost, but many of them are given away free, which appears to be their real price.

  33. Father S. says:

    I did get a very special gift. Due to the blizzard in these parts, the Holy Mass at Dawn (literally) was without musical accompaniment. (That is not the gift per se, but it led to the gift. Our parish music is quite fine.) But, the folks who were there were happy to be there because they had a dangerous trip to Holy Mass. There were sufficient servers and it was wonderful to have a Holy Mass sung in its entirety. The light of dawn did illuminate the church and the congregation was in rare form singing. It was a rare treat to chant the antiphons for such a solemn day. The rhythm of Holy Mass was different, and it made for a perfect way to start the day.

  34. Father S. says:

    How many parishes had the chanting of the Christmas proclamation before the Vigil Mass? We had it before the Vigil Mass and not in place of the penitential rite, as is permitted. I do have to say that I was uncertain of one thing and maybe my brother priests could help out on this. I was unsure as to whether or not I ought to keep my biretta on during the proclamation. I did not.

    The order was:
    Procession with hymn
    Incensing of the altar
    Beginning of Holy Mass


  35. Margaret says:

    Mass was a bit of a mixed bag. Our pastor has a fantastic voice and chants the nativity account every year. Always lovely. But same pastor always shies away from anything even remotely doctrinal or pious in his homilies. This year was worse than normal– he seemed to deliberately ignore the fact of the Fall, and existence of original sin, in explaining why Christ became Man. Then, at communion time, when I returned to my pew, I realized the woman in the pew in front of me had brought back the entire Host with her! She proceeded to break off a small piece and consume it, and seemed to be moving to place the rest in her purse! I was pretty sharp with her and told her she absolutely could not bring the Host home with her and needed to eat the entire thing NOW, which thankfully she did with no further ado.

    The group this lady was with appeared to speak something Eastern European as their primary language. I’m wondering if there is some possible explanation for her behavior if she belonged to an Eastern Rite or to an Orthodox Church??

    At home: the big hit presents were the toy phasers that two of the Star Trek-obsessed boys (original series) received from Santa. They’ve been in near-constant use since they were opened. And the funny moment of the day was when the three-year-old placed the Babe in the manger, as is the prerogative of the youngest in our house, and then sternly admonished said Babe, “NOW DON’T WUN AWAY!!!”

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Good call at church, Margaret. Who knows what goes on in some peoples’ heads.

    Your sons sound very cute.

  37. Antioch_2013 says:

    I was blessed to serve as Subdeacon at our Solemn High Mass (Midnight Mass), it was my first High Mass and it was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It was also the very first Solemn High Mass in the parish, ever. There was a good turnout and everything went relatively smoothly (thank God!). The humeral veil was a bit of a horse blanket (cloth of gold and _very_ heavy) so that made it a bit close, but other than that it was wonderful.

    The celebrant preached on the connection between the Nativity and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord, it was wonderful.

    I received the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt boxed set of J.S. Bach’s Sacred Cantatas. 200 Cantatas, 60 CDs, 70+ hours of music. I’ve only just scratched the surface and it is glorious beyond description. Glory to God in the highest!

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    A few years ago on Christmas eve I found Holy Communion in a hymn book. When announcements aren’t made to the congregation about Holy Communion before mass, almost all of the tourists just follow the traffic and come up to receive. Some of them have no idea what to do so they ditch the host. It’s something that needs attention.

  39. Father S. says:

    Per my question, I see that I should have consulted Bishop Elliott’s book first.

  40. Craig says:

    My best friend and I were going to attend Midnight Mass, but the weather was against us (I live on a little side street with no ploughing, ever). Instead, I got myself up early for the 8am Mass (preaching on the return of light through Christ’s Incarnation, Canon Avis is at his best when he is extemporising), dug out the car, and managed to get my friend and I there with enough time for Confession before Mass. Afterwards, I made a little country breakfast at his place, then fixed his laptop why he helped his neighbours dig out there cars for their travels (his street gets ploughed, and they tend to bury cars). Then off to my place where he entertained my cat while I prepared a beer braised roast. And to top the day, we watched “Heroes” on DVD while I answered various texts.

    Today, I am very much snowed in.

  41. asperges says:

    Third Mass of Christmas in the (old) Dominican rite in Leicester. Included the old sequence Laetabundus – see which disappeared in the Tridentine reforms. Sermon very sound on the ways in which Our Lord is born today and continually in the Sacraments.

    The more I see of the Dominican rite the more I appreciate it. It has a simplicity which, has the fathers of Vat II considered it, could easily have fulfilled the famous task of simplification of rites but which in the end they used as an excuse for the resulting vandalism of the liturgy.

    Midnight Mass (televised) at Westminster Cathedral with new Archbishop, N.O. with good chunk of Latin and Latin proper and common, but using the great high altar at last not substitute forward standing thing, not yet ad orientem, but a scintilla of encouragement from the Holy Father and we might even be back to “normal” soon!

  42. On December 24th, at 11 PM, our choir bagan to sing in English every Catholic Christmas carole, and more, I had ever heard. Then, at midnight, we celebrated a High Mass in Latin in our chapel. The sermon was on the mark as it portrayed what life in the world, including Israel, was like BEFORE CHRIST CAME! As my wife and I are the mater and pater familias, our whole family, including five grandchildren, came to our home to celebrate on Christmas Day.

  43. Patikins says:

    Jesus was there. There was a bit of Latin (the dona nobis pacem round was sung as part of the pre-mass music).

    I got to see my godfather/uncle. My new brother in law (not Catholic) went to “Midnight” mass.
    That’s about all that I can say that was positive so I’m not going to say anymore.

  44. q7swallows says:

    The Lord gave me the best gift of all in the three crescendoing TLMs of Christmas.   Each one had an outstanding homily that moved me to tears.  Here were my take-aways:

    Midnight Mass:  
    The importance of observing Our Lady carefully and modeling our lives on her–allowing Jesus and the pure worship of Him (esp. Holy Mass) to be first and central and assuring that prayer is the first, indispensible premise of everything we do.

    A little history of God’s choices for dwelling places in the OT leading up to Bethlehem (“House of Bread”)–emphasizing how God has a habit of choosing small and insignificant places to appear, leading to the connection with Holy Communion (carrying the bread theme) and how we, like the shepherds, should be hastening there to find Him. 

    John 1:1-14 was like the whole of the Faith in a nutshell that was so universally celebrated in the youth of the church it was finally included in TLM in the 1500s–and placed immediately before the departure of the faithful–not so much as a post-script but as a reminder that God’s Word (now in us) always seeks a response of love and should never return to Him unfruitful.

    Lovely, traditional polyphonic Christmas carols preceded Midnight Mass–organ and some talented youth on violins included on a few. And the choir did a great job singing the Masses.

    And as a fringe benefit, God arranged it so that those three Masses were completely unencumbered by resistant, complaining relatives.  It’s been absolutely glorious!     

  45. Mike says:

    We attended a small gathering at a women’s center of Opus Dei; the priest spoke at some length about the Holy Father’s Midnight Mass homily. Some fine singing in Latin NO Mass, ad orientem. Stillness. Peace. Thanksgiving.

  46. o.h. says:

    Christmas Eve: My littlest started screaming her head off and pulling at her ear. Ear infection! I spent the rest of the evening trying to get the on-call pediatrician on the phone, convincing her to call in a prescription for antibiotics (I failed), and standing around at the 24-hour Walgreens pharmacy waiting for the prescription for benzocaine, listening to tinny muzaked Christmas songs.

    The benzocaine did little, so my husband and I spent Christmas night comforting the toddler when she woke up screaming every few hours. Christmas morning I spent in the waiting room at the off-hours clinic with a whimpering child on my lap, waiting for a pediatrician. Eventually got to Christmas Mass in the afternoon–last Mass of the day.

    I believe the Lord was giving me the gift of a small taste of Mary’s poverty the first Christmas Eve. I thank God for the beautiful child who was crying in my arms Christmas night.

  47. Jayna says:

    My priest used some of his homily at Midnight Mass to make a another defense for the crucifix he recently had installed in the sanctuary (the church had either had a plain cross or a “Risen Christ” statue for its entire 30 year history up until this summer). The argument he made for it – both at the time it went up and Thursday night – makes me think he actually paid attention to the all the research I did for him on the topic, which included sending him passages from The Spirit of the Liturgy. The music was appropriate for once, though for some reason they used the piano rather than the organ for the Gloria and the Alleluia. I’ve stopped asking questions, though, because the answers never make much sense. As I suspect many priests did, Father also rather bluntly hinted to the Christmas and Easter folk that they should think about going to Mass more often.

    As for Christmas day, I did absolutely nothing (probably because I didn’t get home til round 2:30). I think I watched a movie, but not much else.

  48. TMA says:

    It was a humble, blessed Christmas. Due to the blizzard, we attended a nearby NO vigil in a gym, complete with a pageant. Had to miss our TLM midnight mass and mass of the day for which we had prepared lovely polyphony and chant. But, as all weather comes from God, how can we complain?

    Our son is enjoying his Legos and I am so happy that our 10 year old daughter loves her new doll (I think girls are growing up too fast – putting aside dolls for more grown-up pursuits.) I was given a new stock pot which I put to immediate use. It may be because it’s one of our coldest Decembers on record, but I take it as a blessing that there were no complaints about the warm clothing that was received. I’m glad we celebrate through Epiphany. The fun continues.

  49. marthawrites says:

    Our celebrant gave an expanded version of the homily he presented last Sunday whose theme was Santa Claus is not coming to town; Jesus Christ is coming to town. And what will our gift to Him be? He recommended that when we go home after Mass we kneel down in front of our Christmas tree under which should be a Nativity scene and recite the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary as a family. When we ponder Mother Mary’s role in the Nativity we come closer to her Son–guaranteed!

  50. Nan says:

    Margaret, Orthodox would’t receive Communion at a Catholic church; Eastern Catholics may receive with the same type of Host as Latin Rite, but some Churches receive in the Orthodox manner, with the Priest spooning both species together into the recipients mouth. Because religion was suppressed under Communism, it’s more likely that she isn’t religious; if your parish doesn’t let people know that Communion is restricted, she may not have known.

    I was at the Cathedral for Midnight Mass but was late for the Christmas Carols, which made parking and seating a challenge. The Deacon read the part aloud which indicates who may receive Communion in the Catholic Church. It was obvious that there were a lot of visitors; it’s easy to tell because they sit before the Priest does and many stand up once they realize everyone isn’t sitting. There were many also who didn’t go up for Communion so may not have been Catholic.

    irishgirl, our Archbishop sings at the beginning and end of his homily.

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Good for your deacon, Nan. I’ve never heard it announced here, despite the fact that we have a great many non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics present on Christmas eve and virtually everyone processes up for Holy Communion.

  52. Mornac says:

    We attended the 11:00 Novus ordo high Mass in Latin at our parish because our daughter was singing in the choir for that Mass. I was a bit put off when I saw that Bishop Joseph Perry was offering the Mass. His Excellency is one of the finest men in the American hierarchy today and I admire him on many levels (a liturgical perfectionist – few can offer a Solemn Pontifical High Mass in the traditional rite like Bishop Perry), but his sermons are long winded and he often loses his listeners within minutes. That said, the church was decked out in its Christmas finery and the choir was in good voice. It set the mood for a wonderful Christmas day.

  53. JaneC says:

    My husband and I gave homemade beeswax taper and votive candles. I received a pair of slippers that look like cowboy boots, which made me smile.

    The Christmas Masses at our parish were sadly unremarkable, although I was glad to hear a prayer intention regarding regular Sunday Mass attendance included among the petitions.

  54. Agnes says:

    I snow-bank rammed my way to Noon Mass in a 4X4 with only those kids who are receiving the Sacraments attending (and one loyal server!). 12 passenger van was stuck solid. :-(

    Very good homily. The infant Lord beckons us to sacrifice, not just the sentimentality of the manger scene. Love begets action. No mistake that the solemnity of the Nativity fell on a Friday this year, the day we usually offer in remembrance of our Lord’s Passion and Death. We fall in love with him in the Incarnation, follow him through life, and ultimately enter with him into the Cross and the Resurrection.

    Today, an equally good homily on St. Stephen. Lest we get too mushy wushy over the manger scene, prepare for stoning!

    Merry merry.

  55. DominiSumus says:

    Midnight Mass at my parish was excellent. I think the music was good, even if I say so myself.
    There was a congregation of about 200.
    Father read the Christmas proclamation before Mass and his homily focused on the line in the proclamation “the whole world being at peace”.
    He contrasted the Pax Romanum with the true peace which comes through Christ.

  56. DominiSumus says:

    I have a question. I was brought up with the Portuguese custom of the Veneration of the Infant at Christmas Mass. It is just like the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday.

    Since I no longer attend a Portuguese parish I do not see that custom anymore. Is anyone else familiar with it, or is it a strictly Portuguese thing?

  57. We were unable to go to our ‘Oratory of Cor Jesu’ some thirty miles away from where we presently reside because of the weather.
    We had Midnight Mass and the third Mass of Christmas (Extraordinary Rite) in the convent chapel here, a Bethlehem, hidden, out of the way and very, very small.
    But a very beautiful Christmas. And we did make it today for our Mass in the Extraordinary Rite at our Oratory. Seven brave souls came.

  58. I received from our Oblate priest a copy of the “Stational Churches of Rome” for Lent.
    We will be referring to this in the upcoming Lenten season. A great gift. The Cantius community has this available for any who are interested.

  59. Father Totton says:

    430 vigil Mass (OF) was packed (as usual) and this at the start of the storm (by this point it was freezing rain and sleet. by the time Mass finished sleet had turned to snow and the faithful dispersed rather quickly. As the snow began to accumulate I was spending the evening with a great parish family and began to wonder whether there would be many at Midnight Mass (OF). I headed back to the rectory about 930pm and the roads had a fairly impressive cover of snow on them. The parking lot had not been cleared (and would not be). at about ten one seminarian arrived who had driven in from 30 miles away – he had spent 1.5 hours on the road! Choir arrived at 11 and things began to look promising. 4 seminarians (including a transitional deacon) braved snow-covered roads. All 8 servers arrived on time. The attendance was a few short of 100 – far fewer then in favorable weather, but still, I was pleased we had that many. At the beginning of Mass, a small child placed the bambino in the manger. I offered the Mass by the dim light of candles (and Christmas tree lights). All who attended were grateful for the beauty and dignity of the ceremonies. I got to bed at about 230am. Alarm at 7am with morning Mass (OF) at 9 (“dawn”). Even fewer in atendance(about 50 – the snow had fallen even more heavily throughout the night) but with musicians and a full complement of servers. There were fewer still (c. 35) at the 11am Latin Mass (EF). There was one young family there who had gone to the vigil Mass at their small country parish the night before and still got dressed and braved the weather to come in for the Mass of the Day! As a gift they presented me with a pair of beeswax tapers (from their own bees) and a bottle of Stone Hill Norton (Missouri’s pride). I preached on the aspirations of three trees (it is a children’s story I had heard sometime along the way) as a means of highlighting the mystery of the Incarnation and the ways in which the Lord will surpass our greatest aspirations if only we submit to HIs will.

  60. Augustine Terra Mariae says:

    A complete and bitter disappointment on the temporal level. Terrible music. No visible Christian community. Terrible liturgy. Only our Lord in the sacrament.

  61. God bless you Father Totton!
    May you and all the priests of our world be given every grace and blessing by the Infant this Christmastide during this Year of Priests. And may our Lady and St. Joseph intercede for you and all the priests that you may be drawn every more to the Lord and love His Church, as you so obviously do!

  62. Augustine Terra Mariae: I am so sorry to hear that the Sacred Liturgy was so terrible for you.
    You share somehow in the poverty of our Lord in this; He is very pleased by your faith in His Presence in the Holy Sacrament. My prayers and blessing.

  63. Rich says:

    My wife and I learned that she is pregnant with our second child on the 23rd. Please pray for us.

  64. thesheepcat says:

    We had a Solemn High Mass at midnight at St Vincent de Paul (the second Oratorian parish in Toronto). I was in the choir loft with an expanded schola singing Victoria’s Missa O Magnum Mysterium, while my mother and wife sat together below.
    Then I was back for the 11:30 Mass on Christmas morning (TLM, Mass VII). To take the pressure off, our first Christmas dinner as a married couple was on Boxing Day. My best Christmas ever!

  65. Midnight Mass at…. Midnight…… was absolutely beautiful.

    Our pastor, fearless as always, asked the pivotal question: just as an infant recognizes those who interreact with him and who are regularly present in his life, will Our Lord recognize you?

  66. Sorry, that was “interact”. Need more coffee…..

  67. moconnor says:

    We had a very good NO Mass for Midnight at the cathedral. Our new music director/organist is a world class musician and offered us Dupres’s Variations sur Noel nouvelette, an impossibly satirical neoclassic work. I was absolutely mesmerized. In the choir we sang 2 parts of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and motets by Peter Latona and Paul Manze. While I hope to have a TLM for midnight some year, this was much better than past years.

  68. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Still waiting for the Nativity on Jan. 7. It is the custom of the Orthodox in my family to attend a dinner with the protestants in our family who celebrate on Dec. 25. We break the fast on that one day and exchange gifts. I like this because when Jan. 7 comes all the secular festivities of this time of the year have passed finally passed away and we are still looking forward to the glorious birth of our Messiah. The greatest gift of all.

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