There is the old joke sometimes told by pastors of people calling them up and asking them what time Midnight Mass is. I guess thought that in parts of Britain the question is a valid one.
LONDON (Reuters Life!) – Roman Catholic churches across Britain plan to stage midnight mass early on Christmas Eve to avoid drunk revelers on the loose after the pubs shut.
A survey by the Catholic weekly magazine The Tablet showed churches planned to hold mass as early as six in the evening to avoid running the risk of disturbance from drunks staggering out of the pub at the traditional closing time of 11 p.m.
“A lot of people, having been disgorged from the pub, were attracted to the light and music and used to disrupt proceedings,” said Father James O’Keefe at St Bede’s Church in the northeastern city of Newcastle.
In the Scottish city of Glasgow, Father Joseph McNulty said: “I wouldn’t hold a Midnight Mass at midnight because of the drunks. There would be too much trouble.”
In other Christmas news, Christmas is now a national holiday in Iraq. (Thanks to the reader that sent that in.)
Is there some new church law that says we must all go to midnight Mass? Silly me, I thought that the “Christmas Eve Vigil” or the “Mass at Dawn” or the “Mass During the Day” on Christmas were all just as good.
Here’s a thought – lock the doors after Mass starts. It worked in the South when anti-Catholics tried to disrupt Mass. Bonus: latecomers will have to explain to the ushers in order to get in.
You have to really hunt in our diocese to find a midnight Mass that begins at 12:00 AM. Nearly all start at 10 or 11 instead, I think just out of the perceived convenience– we can all get done with Mass and off to bed a few hours earlier.
My parish in the Central Belt of Scotland had Midnight Mass at 7pm. I don’t think this was hugely unusual.
Feeble, I say.
There are four Masses to celebrate the Nativity: the Vigil Mass, the Mass during the night, the Mass at dawn, and the Mass during the day.
Local tradition holds the Mass at night at Midnight, and has for some time, but it can be anytime during the night. I think there’s a time constraint, like Easter Vigil being after sunset, but I don’t know what it is.
One of the problems is knowing that Midnight Mass, even if celebrated at midnight, rarely starts at midnight… it usually begins with carols starting some time before, maybe even an hour, and if you need a seat, you have to find out when to get there…
…and if you’re visiting a place just for the holiday, but want to get your Mass as well, then you may well have to ring up to ask “What time is Midnight Mass?”
There’s a simple solution to this. Keep the pubs open until 2 AM. The drunks won’t wander into mass and chances are the reverse would happen, Catholics would invade the pubs.
Nothing says one must go to Midnight Mass, but if you are going to have Midnight Mass, for goodness sakes, have it at Midnight!
The First Mass of Christmas Day is officially called “Mass at Midnight.”
Any Mass beginning before such time should use the propers for the vigil Mass (which may be attended to satisfy the obligation of attending Mass).
I have heard stories from my dad. He remembers, in his younger years, the drunks would stumble into Church at Midnight Mass.
I think most parishes have made it earlier for the sake of convenience. My godfather (also a priest) sees no reason to have Mass at Midnight nowadays – given the ability to celebrate Christmas (and any given Sunday) before its time. Besides, he reasons, with only one priest in a parish it is too much to expect Father to stay up so late for the sake of romance / nostalgia of a few parishioners.
I disagree. Midnight Mass at St. James will begin at – of all times – Midnight!
Please don’t get me started on the multiplication of evening vigil Masses and the reduction of Christmas morning Masses.
Midnight Mass should be when it is: at midnight :). I for one love midnight Mass and look forward to it every year.
Bah, humbug! If you have any trouble, what you do is to ask a few local manual workers to be around at the back of the Church just in case. Preferably men who know how to deal with drunks with good humour and low-key, understated authority. We don’t have trouble in Blackfen 🙂
What I found sad is that these parishes seem to only have one Mass. That doesn’t say very much about the state of religion in England.
Our parish (in the NE United States) has a midnight Mass. We also have a 4 PM, 6 PM and 10 PM Mass on Christmas Eve. As well as three Masses on Christmas day. Each one will be packed.
These are all the masses that my parish has:
December 24 Monday, Christmas Eve:
4 PM & 7 PM (Church & Parish Hall);
9 PM & 12 Midnight (Church)
December 25 Tuesday, Christmas Day:
6 AM (Church);
8 AM, 10 AM & 12 Noon (Church and Parish Hall)
I cannot believe there are so many midnight masses, but if you look there are many more vigil masses than Christmas day masses. Some churches don’t even have Christmas day masses. Well that is Vegas! People will stay up late go to mass then spend all day Christmas in the casinos (Fun huh?)
Well we are going to Midnight mass because it is really the first time all of us kids are old enough that none of us will be crying. Also my aunt who grew up Catholic and converted to Mormonism and is now nothing asked if she could go with us if we were going to Midnight mass. She said she has always wanted to go and now that she and my dad are getting close she is showing signs of coming back. The only thing holding her back we think is her husband. He had been married and had 7 kids then he married her and had no kids. She loves him so she won’t leave him. He won’t become Catholic because most of his kids are Mormon and one is a Bishop in the Mormon Church. Mormons think that the Catholic Church was started by the devil so for him to become Catholic is like a Catholic to become a devil worshiper.
Well MERRY CHRISTMAS and have a BLESSED NEW YEAR!!
Midnight Mass at the monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, NJ USA is at MIDNIGHT! The nuns will sing carols at about 11:40.
We get calls on day on the 24th, “What time is midnight Mass?” We put the answering machine on but all day we hear the phone ring!
I agree; what is the point of Midnight Mass if it’s not at Midnight!
Our little priory had a lot fewer guests when we did it on Midnight, so our Midnight Mass is back to 10 PM. I don’t blame people for calling and asking what time “Midnight Mass” is, since I’ve seen many Churches advertise it as such at a different hour.
Mebbe it’d be easier if we went with the Spanish “Misa de Gallo.” :^)
“Midnight” Mass for us at the cathedral in Wichita is at 10:30, because it’s being broadcast on KSN-Channel 3. We have an English Mass at 5, a Spanish one at 7, and then the 10:30 pm Mass on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Day Mass is at 9 am. I’m sacristan and thurifer for the 10:30 pm Mass, so I will be at the church from 8ish to well after midnight. I think channel 3 is switching over to the Vatican’s Mass after our Mass is over.
Our cathedral is smack downtown and right around various homeless shelters, but we’ve never really had a problem with drunks.
I too would prefer it to be at midnight, but there must be some consideration for the elderly and people with families AND those of us poor souls who have to work Christmas Eve that don’t have the energy to be up for nearly 24 hours straight. (I have to get up at 5 am to go to work). If we had Mass at midnight, I’d probably not get to bed til 3 am Christmas morning.
Josh, if I’m home from my parish Christmas Eve Mass, I’ll try to catch the Cathedral Mass on TV. I didn’t know that it was shown. St Mary’s is a lovely cathedral–but I’d be glad to have the homeless sheltered inside her today, if they had nowhere else to go. (We have blizzard conditions in Wichita today–earlier we had thunder snow–very interesting).
‘Mebbe it’d be easier if we went with the Spanish “Misa de Gallo.”‘
It’d be even more false advertising…these Masses are at dawn.
This year, our “midnight Mass” began at 10pm. At communion I was in the choir loft singing Silent Night. My husband was playing the organ. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone crouched down talking to my husband *while he is playing*. Later, he tells me that it was someone who reeked of alcohol and had come up to the choir loft to “request” “Oh Holy Night.” In the middle of Mass. So, even moving Midnight Mass back to 10pm does nothing to discourage the drunks.
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