Sunday, December 24, 2006

Venite adoremus, Dominum!

In contrast with the last couple years, when Christmas Eve was filled up with festivities at the novitiate and when I couldn't go home until Christmas morning, I'm enjoying a relatively low-key Christmas Eve in Rochester. Other than helping my mother make golabki for a small family get-together we'll be having tonight, I haven't had much to do today besides waiting for Midnight Mass - and that's something worth waiting for.

A tradition in the Western Church for at least a millennium, Midnight Mass on Christmas is one of my favorite liturgies of the year. For me, nothing evokes Christmas quite like the darkened nave and candlelit sanctuary of a parish church packed with people who've come in the middle of the night to celebrate their Redeemer's birth. Where Midnight Mass is concerned, my tastes are fairly traditional. I look forward to hearing "O Come All Ye Faithful," "O Holy Night" and "Joy to the World" - with organ accompaniment, thank you - and I expect the Mass to begin no earlier than midnight. I'm always able to find a Midnight Mass that satisfies my nostalgic yearnings, though some years I've had to shop around to find a parish that actually offers Midnight Mass at the appropriate time.

With the exception of when I was a novice - then I attended Midnight Mass at parishes in metro Detroit - my habit in recent years has been to celebrate tonight's liturgy at the church where I was baptized, St. Patrick's in Wareham. At times I've been tempted to go elsewhere - there's a handful of other churches in the area that are said to offer a fine Midnight Mass - but to me there's something special about celebrating Christmas year after year in a place that has a kind of intimate familiarity to it. So tonight I'll be off to St. Patrick's once again. I hope those readers who are in the habit of attending Midnight Mass on Christmas can look forward to celebrating tonight's liturgy in a church or chapel that means something special to them, a place they can look forward to returning to year and after year. My prayerful best wishes to all on this holy night. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home