Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Eve Masses

Thursday greetings.

A very dear friend, her husband, and two children will be spending Christmas with their extended family here in Chicago. He has been deployed overseas for several months and has recently returned home. Several months ago she asked me if their young family could attend Christmas Mass with me at my parish. I used to stay over at her family's home in Florida when I worked in their parish; they were a second family to me. So, I was thrilled that she, her husband, and two children would be coming to Mass with me at Old Saint Patrick's, my new parish home here in Chicago.

This morning I looked at the Christmas Eve Mass schedule. There are FOUR three o'clock Masses! And there is an alert on the page where the Mass schedule is found:

"Please note: As Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses tend to be fuller than usual, we ask that you arrive early. Please be understanding of spacial constraints, plan ahead, and arrive early. Thank you!"

I can't even begin to imagine what the parking situation will be like.

So, I've decided that we will go to the five o'clock Mass, probably walking to Mass from my home. There are only two of those.

I guess I have been away from a "popular" parish for so long that I forgot what Christmas Eve is like in these kinds of parishes. This is so different from my experience growing up, when we would all get up at 5:00 A.M., open our presents, then all head to our parish church for the 9:00 A.M. Mass and our annual visit to the outdoor nativity scene. So relaxed and unhurried. Seems like the Christmas Eve Mass phenomenon in Catholic parishes has morphed into mimicking the frenzy of the season leading up to it.

Still excited to be spending time with members of my second family!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


John Drake said...

St. John Cantius has a midnight Mass. I bet that would be a bit less crowded, and certainly as, or more, beautiful than at Old St. Pat's.

Justin Huyck said...

I was similarly surprised, when joining the staff of a large parish, to have multiple Christmas liturgies at the same time. In our case, we have a 4pm in the church and, at the same time, in the gym. Both liturgies are well-celebrated, with attention given to musical leadership, presiding/preaching, lectors, etc.

I am interested in those who will go to the gym, even before the church is full. I think perhaps that some (who may not ordinarily be at Mass) are more comfortable celebrating liturgy in a gym. At first glance, this less than ideal situation may in fact be a pastoral way of expressing God's mercy and love.

Anonymous said...

While not ideal, it's better to have "overflow" locations have their own Mass(es) than remotely accessing one Mass via screens. I suspect that's ruddering the structure at Old St Pat's.