From Fr. Paul 11-5-2017
I know November just began, but I want to share our Christmas Mass schedule in advance to assist you as you make preparations. The primary way we celebrate Christmas as Catholics is not with trees, decorations or gifts, but with worship. After serving here at St. Mary for two years and reflecting on Christmas Mass attendance; I discussed with the parish staff about changing our Christmas Mass schedule. The majority of us attend Mass on Christmas Eve. The 4:30 Mass is always crowded, often to an uncomfortable level. The Mass at Night is full, but less crowded, and the least attended Liturgies are the Christmas Day Masses. This year St. Mary will offer the 4:30 Christmas Eve Mass as usual. I am adding another Mass at 6:30pm and I am encouraging those who often attend the 4:30 but could easily accommodate this later time to do so. This Mass is often a bit quieter in parishes while still keeping the Christmas evening Mass time, and allowing those who might go to a later dinner to do so. Our Christmas Mass at Night will be at 11pm this year instead of 10pm. This should allow more to attend this later Mass since many family celebrations do not end in time for a 10pm Mass on Christmas Eve, but would end in time for 11pm. This also allows the opportunity to receive the Eucharist very close to Midnight on Christmas Morning. We will have one Mass on Christmas Morning at 10am. I hope one Mass on Christmas morning will give us a full church that always adds to the celebration instead of two lightly attended Masses. I hope this helps in your planning to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.
The New 2017 Christmas Mass Schedule is as follows:
December 24th Christmas Eve
4:30pm Christmas Vigil Mass
6:30pm Christmas Vigil Mass
11:00pm Christmas Mass at Night
December 25th Christmas Day
10:00am Christmas Day Mass
Also of importance, because his year Christmas falls on a Monday, with Christmas Eve, of course on Sunday we have to plan a way to attend Mass once for Sunday and once for Christmas. Even though it means we “have to go to Mass” twice in a couple days, we are celebrating the 4th Sunday of Advent (Sunday when we always go to Mass) and Christmas – the birth of our Savior. I encourage you to think about it as spending more time that Christmas week with the One you love, the One who loved you first.
4th Sunday of Advent Masses
Saturday, December 23rd, 4:30pm
Sunday, December 24th, 9am (no 11am Mass)
I encourage attendance at the Saturday 4:30pm Mass if you attend Mass on Christmas Eve, and Sunday at the 9am if you plan on attending Mass on Christmas Day. However, any two Masses that weekend will serve both of your obligations. You are allowed to receive the Eucharist twice in on day as long as you attend Mass. The will be no 11am Mass on Sunday so we can prepare the church for the 4:30pm Christmas Eve Mass.