The Roman Catholic Church gives us four different Masses to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ: the Vigil Mass, Mass during the Night, Mass at Dawn and Mass during the Day. Originally, the Church celebrated Christmas only with the Mass during the Day, using the Prologue of the Gospel of John for the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1) The Gospel of John makes no mention of a manger, angels, shepherds or even the baby Jesus. Rather, John’s Gospel emphasizes the Word through whom all things came into being, who now is with us and among us in human flesh. It is a profound reflection on the significance of the Incarnation and on the identity of the child born in the city of David, the Savior who is Christ and Lord. (Luke 2:11) In contrast to the Mass during the Day with its theological reflection on the meaning of the Incarnation, the Mass during the Night makes use of the infancy narratives, specifically from the Gospel of Luke.

The Midnight Mass was the first Christmas Mass celebrated at the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission when it opened two years ago. The tradition of the Midnight Mass continues to be celebrated each year at midnight on December 24th. This particular Mass during the Night brings out a sense of tranquility and solemnity far apart from the busy hustle and bustle of buying Christmas gifts and planning parties. The sound of Christmas hymns, the smell of incense, the procession and the devotion of the people to the infant Jesus makes this celebration so special. The Midnight Mass liturgy doesn’t just tell the story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; it becomes a moving experience which draws out a faith-filled response from the faithful to the Gospel’s proclamation of salvation and the true identity of the Christ child born in the manger.

The Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission offers two Masses to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. On December 24 at 11:30 pm, the Mass during the Night will be celebrated in Chinese. On December 25 at 3:30 pm, the Mass during the Day will be celebrated in Chinese. All are welcome!