How to Attend Midnight Mass


The Midnight Mass, held at the stroke of midnight as Christmas Eve ticks into Christmas Day, has its origins in the belief that Christ was born at exactly that hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Church Clothes
  • A Crucifix Necklace
  • Call ahead to find out what time the service starts. Some services begin earlier than midnight and continue through the midnight hour.

  • Arrive early. People generally begin arriving at least an hour early, and the chapel may be filled before the service begins.

  • Dress appropriately. Wearing old jeans or other very casual clothes is not appropriate.

  • Open your heart to the spirit and symbolism of Christmas portrayed in the Mass. There will usually be lots of sacred music, Christmas decorations, candles, scripture readings and perhaps a crèche.

  • Take communion only if you are qualified to do so; discuss this beforehand with a local priest if you have questions about your status. If you are not going to take communion, sit quietly while others do. It is considered rude to leave during this part of the service.

Tips & Warnings

  • Non-Catholics are welcome to attend the Mass. Simply follow the lead of the priest or others around you if you're not sure what to do.
  • If you are asked to "give each other the sign of peace," shake the hand of a stranger and give a quick kiss or hug to a family member.
  • If you are given a candle when you arrive, you may be asked to light it at a special time during the service.

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