Update O Holy Night - The Beautiful Masses Of Christmas - Live from Vatican Papal Mass Christmas Eve

**** UPDATE ****
Just to let you know that you can watch the Papal Mass tonight 24th December live from St. Peter's Basilica Rome at approximately 21:00 (UTC/GMT +1 hour)
Click on link below to watch live.

There are four Masses celebrated by the Church on The Feast Of The Nativity.

The Vigil Mass, Midnight Mass, Mass at Dawn and the Christmas Day Mass.

Scripture Readings for all four are here.

I've edited out a few key highlights and posted them below. 

The Vigil Masses are often held in the late afternoon to cater for those with young children.  It's interesting to note that before the Second Vatican Council, there were no Christmas Eve Vigil Masses.  Only midnight Mass was offered on Christmas Eve followed by Masses on Christmas morning. 

Nowadays, the late Masses are referred to as "Midnight Masses" even though they are actually held at 10pm or 11pm.

Pope Francis will celebrate what the Vatican calls " Midnight Mass’ at 8:30pm December 24th in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. No doubt this will be televised live on the usual feeds. I'll add them as and when they appear.
Midnight Mass is especially beautiful because "it’s right at that moment when the past and the future meet – the old is dying and the new is coming.” .......................

“The children’s Mass has been an extravaganza, and it’s a nice feeling to watch the kids and see the service through the children’s eyes of faith." ................................

“But there is a solemnity at the evening Mass — at the time that Christ was born. It’s a highlight of the year, along with Easter. The solemn Mass gives a very different feeling to the Christmas season. With the quiet calm and music prior to Mass, you can almost hear the angels sing when Mass starts."................................................

“Christmas morning Mass has freshness to it – you can feel that the little baby is in the world and feel the change in the world because of that.”..........................

“We try to make the services all beautiful. The growing excitement over these Masses shows they are definitely not an afterthought. That’s a good feeling because a lot of work and energy go into them.”..........................................................................
This is a wonderful poem for Christmas from John Shea's The Hour of the Unexpected called "Sharon's Christmas Prayer." 

She was five
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.
She said
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.

And do you know who he was?

      Her quarter eyes inflated
      to silver dollars,
      The baby was God.

      And she jumped in the air
      whirled round, dove into the sofa
      and buried her head under the cushion
      which is the only proper response
      to the Good News of the Incarnation.

by John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected, Allan, Texas, Argus Communications, 1977

 “The way to begin healing the wounds of the world
 is to treasure the Infant Christ in us;
to be not the castle but the cradle of Christ; 
and, in rocking that cradle to the rhythm of love,
to swing the whole world back into the beat of the Music of Eternal Life.” 

from Caryll Houselander - Wood Of The Cradle, Wood Of The Cross 

                          Click here for another reflection taken from the book.


                    The story of the birth of Jesus told by the people of Bethlehem.


Image source via Richard Lyall

This song wouldn't be sung at Mass (!) but I've included it because so many of my happy childhood memories of Christmas are associated with Perry Como carols and songs, and it has also been re released this Christmas in an arrangement by Aled Jones and Terry Wogan for Children in Need . Click here for their video.


Light of God
Lead Us
 Power of God
Hold Us
 Joy of God
Heal Us
 Laughter of God
Bless Us
Love of God
Caress Us

 Next up, two very different versions of the beautiful hymn Silent Night 

Straight No Chaser Silent Night.. It gets going after the first naff 10 secs or so..

Silent Night An Acoustic Version by Robbie J

and another from Robbie - O Little Town Of Bethlehem..

Rachel and Ferdia singing O Holy Night at 2012 Late Late Toy Show on RTE. A few wobbles but still lovely..

The presenter's outfit at the beginning of this brings back a few memories from some years ago of a few elfish revellers at a Midnight Mass I attended. They turned out to be great singers too !!

Still, Still, Still.

The music in the video below ends at 3:07 and the video is 5:34 minutes long, perhaps allowing us that space to savour on this night, time for a sacred pause to breath slowly and deeply to take in the precious silence and awesome meaning of this night for humankind.

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