I will be one of millions of Christians around the world celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25.
The joys of the day include the beautiful orchestral arrangements and the soaring voices of the choir at Midnight Mass. The 120-year-old St. John Cantius Church is filled with flowers that complement its lovely, old-world interior. The Latin Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Joseph N. Perry, who joins the parish priests and acolytes in the solemn procession escorting the Christ Child through the church to the manger. The scent of incense and candles perfumes the air. During Mass, both choir and congregation sing the Latin responses to the Bishop’s prayers, and a solemn hymn graces Communion. When Mass ends, church lights are dimmed; each member of the congregation holds a lighted candle and sings the recessional hymn, Silent Night.
I find such comfort and joy in this traditional ritual. When I was a girl, the procession was a colorful event, with young boys from the parish dressed as medieval pages in satin shorts and jackets with cloaks and feathered hats joining the priests and seminarians to escort the Baby Jesus to his earthly parents. Both St. John Cantius and my childhood church were founded by immigrants who brought the Old World culture to their homes and worship. It still lives in traditional churches like St. John Cantius, and for me is a direct connection to those Christians who came here long ago.
Family. Friends. Faith. These give life meaning, and never more for me than at Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.