Laudetur Iesus Christus! Blessed Vigil of the Nativity – today December 24 is also known as the ancient feast of Saints Adam and Eve – our first parents, who committed the original sin and as tradition holds, after their expulsion for paradise, did penance for the rest of their 900+ years of life. Some of the eastern Churches commemorate this feast day of the old Adam and old Eve, the day before the birth of the New Adam, through the New Eve (the blessed Mother). As noted a few weeks ago, tradition holds that Adam’s remains (or at least his skull) was re-buried in Jerusalem after Noe’s flood, underneath what today is called Calvary, the site of the crucifixion.
Please see our schedule below and see the important note about the Blessing of Wine for the Feast of St. John this Sunday at St. Ann.
Christmas Latin Mass Schedule
The great feast of Christmas is a solemn 1st class feast so normal Friday penances are dispensed (i.e. you can have meat). Christmas has 3 distinct Masses for the day, and priests are also allowed to offer 3 Masses to commemorate the birth of Our Savior. At the close of this e-mail we provide some details on the 3 Masses.
- St. Ann, 12 midnight (Solemn High) & 11:00am (Low) Christmas Day (signup Mass – see parish website. There will also be outdoor seating available for those unable to sit inside/prefer not to sign up. All will have opportunity to receive Holy Communion)
- St. Thomas Aquinas, 12 midnight (High)
- St. John the Baptist, Tryon, 12 Midnight (High)
- St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country, Boone, NC, 12 Midnight
- Our Lady of Grace, Greensboro, 11:00am High & 1:00pm Low (signup Mass – see parish website)
**For special Latin Masses during Christmastide including Epiphany please visit our webpage: https://charlottelatinmass.org/mass-times/ **
No Respect Life Latin Mass Saturday: Please note there will not be a 4th Saturday Respect Life Latin Mass at St. Ann Saturday morning.
Blessing of Wine this Sunday December 27 BEFORE 12:30pm Mass (at 12:15pm)
This Sunday December 27th is the feast of St. John the Beloved and there is an ancient tradition to bless wine this day as St. John once escaped death from wine that was poisoned. This Sunday at St. Ann, Fr. Reid has kindly agreed to bless wine at 12:15pm in the narthex at St. Ann. Please bring your wine shortly before 12:15pm and place it on or near the blessing table in the narthex. Father will bless the wine promptly at 12:15pm. Fisheaters provides some excellent background and customs for this feast day: https://www.fisheaters.com/customschristmas4.html
Latin Mass & Traditional News
- Sermon on the Christmas Star: Around this time of year we hear often about the “Christmas Star” – but what is it exactly? This traditional sermon provides some background on the supernatural phenomenon seen by the Magi. The sermon is posted by Sensus Fidelium: https://youtu.be/IgNiEr_9yNQ
- Mike Foley’s reflection on the Christmas Eve Collect: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2020/12/the-key-to-season-collect-for-vigil.html
- The 3 Universal “Peaces”: Dom Prosper Gueranger noted in the Liturgical Year (on the feast of St. Ambrose, December 7), that St. Bonaventure taught that tradition holds there are 3 periods of time where the world will be at peace (the 3 silences). The first was after the Noe’s flood subsided when all of humanity was wiped out (except Noe’s family); the 2nd was during the birth of Christ (Pax Romana); and the 3rd shall be in the last days after the defeat of the anti-Christ. To read the brief except scroll down towards the bottom of this reflection: https://sensusfidelium.us/the-liturgical-year-dom-prosper-gueranger/december/december-7-st-ambrose-bishop-and-doctor-of-the-church/
- The FSSP also provided a write up on the Universal Peace at Christ’s birth: (a friend notes Father’s dates may be slightly off): https://fssp.com/christmas-eve-prime-the-whole-world-at-peace/
- The Liturgical Year Reflections for Christmas Eve & Christmas: Dom Gueranger has some excellent reflections for Christmas Eve, the hours leading up to Midnight Mass, and for Christmas day. We link to them here:
- Christmas Eve https://sensusfidelium.us/the-liturgical-year-dom-prosper-gueranger/december/december-24-christmas-eve/
- Christmas Day (including the afternoon/evening of Christmas Eve): https://sensusfidelium.us/the-liturgical-year-dom-prosper-gueranger/christmas/
- When was Christ Born? This question occasionally arises this time of year. Some argue we don’t know the date or that its inaccurate. In this wonderful book, the Frenchman General Hugues de Nanteuil examines this question in his book, The Dates of the Birth and Death of Jesus Christ (recommended by a traditional priest). He looks at all the historical evidence, the changing of the Julian calendar to Gregorian, Herod’s death, the debates about Josephus’ accuracy, and indeed demonstrates that Christ was born on December 25, 1 B.C. in today’s calendar. A priest also echoed this with a simple question: Does not a mother always remember when her child was born – especially if the child was the Messiah? To learn more visit: https://www.lulu.com/shop/general-hugues-de-nanteuil/the-dates-of-the-birth-and-death-of-jesus-christ/paperback/product-2661708.html?page=1&pageSize=4
The 3 Masses of Christmas
As we approach Christmas, there are 3 Latin Masses for Christmas: Midnight, Dawn, and Day. Each represent the three-fold Nativity of Christ and the Masses are all connected to each other, becoming a sort of a triduum (like Easter) or a trilogy. We provide some great information from Fisheaters.com and a 2016 talk given by Fr. Innocent Smith, OP of New York who based it off of St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings. NOTE: The below summary is just a layman’s effort and not authoritative or exhaustive. The 3 Masses are:
Midnight Mass: “The Angels’” Mass, symbolizing Christ’s eternal birth, which takes place before creation, hidden from Men. Thus Mass is offered in the hidden darkness at Midnight. According to tradition, Christ was born at Midnight.
Mass at Dawn: “The Shepherds’” Mass, symbolizing the spiritual birth of Christ into our hearts, where He, the Sun, is like “the morning star that rise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Thus typically Mass is offered at dawn or early morning when daylight is breaking. The text of Mass focuses on the coming light of Christ that will shine on mankind.
Mass at Day: “The Kings’” Mass, symbolizing the temporal and bodily nativity of Christ, which He processes to us in a visible and bodily form, having put on the flesh. Thus Mass is offered in full daylight as He is now fully visible to men. The text of Mass (at least the Introit) focuses on Christ’s humanity. (N.B. Others like liturgist Dom Gueranger have a different order of the 3 Masses than St. Thomas)
The FSSP Latin Mass parish in Atlanta, also shared this 1920 article of the 3 Masses: