Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Christmas Eve AM Advent Masses

December 22nd, 2013, Promulgated by Hopefull
This is the first year that I can remember having a real difficulty in finding a Christmas Eve morning Mass, completing the Advent cycle.  It is not like Good Friday; when no Mass is allowed, so I’m not sure why that Mass isn’t being celebrated in many parishes.   The readings for the Mass can be found on the USCCB website:     I researched well over 3 dozen parishes in the DoR, and found only these four which are offering Mass on Tuesday morning:
 1. Geneva, at St. Francis in the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace at 7AM.  
2. Carmelite Monastery on Jefferson Rd. in Henrietta at 7:30AM.  
3. St. Anne’s on West Henrietta Rd., at 8:00 AM
4. Our Lady of Lourdes in Brighton at 8:30 AM.
Obviously, I didn’t check every parish, and some parishes don’t use the Seek & Find Bulletin format, so it can’t be found on line.  But I went over a pretty wide area, and what is pretty clear is that the 4 cases above are rather uncommon when compared to wider current practice.
Since I did the work of finding these, I just wanted to share this information and invite others who know of a December 24 AM Mass to reply with the place and time.  Thanks!

16 Responses to “Christmas Eve AM Advent Masses”

  1. catholicmom says:

    St Cecelia’s and Christ the king have morning mass.

  2. Hopefull says:

    You are SO right: 6:30AM at Christ the King, and 9:00 AM at St. Cecelia’s. Thanks!

  3. jetscubs86 says:

    Holy Cross on Lake Avenue in Charlotte has a 7:30 A.M. Mass… Can you expect anything less from Fr. Wheeland? Wonderful priests at Holy Cross!

  4. JLo says:

    Yes, wonderful priests at Holy Cross; much to be grateful for. Just wish the church wasn’t so dirty… so filthy that flies stick to the oily pillars. I’m traveling and on a high from the beautiful churches we’ve been graced to visit for Holy Mass. Even poor parish churches are lovely as long as clean. I think to many reading this my complaint will sound petty, and I apologize if it sounds on their ears that way, but I would argue that my sentiment on the subject is solid: our churches should be pristine. All other expenditures in a parish are secondary to that… tabernacles should shine, walls and flooring and pillars and windows and on and on and on should be clean, as spotless as we can make them for the house of Our Lord. I remember how Mother Angelica was pilloried for the lavishness of the sanctuary she built, even to diamond encrusting the INSIDE of the tabernacle there. God love her; she knew that everything good emanates from how well we praise the Lord in his holy places. +JMJ

  5. militia says:

    I agree, JLo — and “how well we praise the Lord” begins with the quality of the Liturgy and — must I say it? — being willing to celebrate the Liturgy at all, on such an important day as today?

  6. Persis says:

    I don’t want to start a firestorm, but I feel that I must comment, JLo, on your remark about HC being ‘filthy’. Yes our Churches should be pristine, but it takes people to make them that way.
    As someone who volunteers to clean the sanctuary of my parish church, I can tell you a few things-

    1. We never have enough help

    2. Most of the people who do come to help are elderly who cannot climb ladders or have the upper body strength to do the a lot of the heavy cleaning

    3. Maintenance men who work for the parish are often so busy handling day-to-day stuff and the little emergencies that pop up all day, that they have no time to help with the cleaning of the sanctuary

    4. Getting people to “commit” to even 1 day a month for a couple of hours is almost impossible. When I made the cleaning schedule, we often only had half of the people show up who said they would. When you base a cleaning schedule on having a certain number of people for a certain number of hours and only half show up, only half of the work gets done

    5. Due to “liability” issues, many parishes CAN’T allow parishioners to do many things- like climbing ladders, moving heavy furniture, etc.

    With that said, there are many of us who take our “jobs” very seriously, but we can’t do it all. We need help lots of it. So, maybe instead of complaining, those who think their parish is “filthy”, should pick up a broom and a rag and help those of us who are trying to the best we can with what we have.

  7. militia says:

    Clarification: I was saying “I agree” about “everything good emanates from how well we praise the Lord in his holy places” but I wasn’t agreeing HC is dirty bc I’ve never been in that church. Cleaning is also a good project for a teen group.

  8. JLo says:

    I just knew I’d take some hits for my observation. I so wish for beautiful spaces for worship. Okay, okay, not of greatest importance, but I’m Catholic and Catholics love beauty.
    To answer concisely Persis’ concerns… I, too, in my life have worked on cleaning teams for my parish and loved every minute. It was not within our purview to climb ladders and do professional institutional cleaning, but rather the routine dusting and vacuuming and washing needed for consistent upkeep. However, there come times in every space’s life when professional attention is needed and to ignore that need is to head into squalor. It’s always sad to see. I meant no disrespect, but obviously calling a space filthy is a breach of PC even if true. My apologies to offended readers. And all would agree my timing is a nightmare…. it’s Christmas Eve!!!

  9. Persis says:

    JLo, I appreciate your comment, and please know, my intention was not to “scold”.

    I only wanted to point out that there is always a struggle. And I agree, professional cleaning, at least once or twice a year, should be, at least in my opinion, a no-brainer when it comes to budgeting, but then, since I know I have cut back on a lot of things in this economy, I can see where this expense could be seen as “frivolous” by some who control the money. sigh…. 🙁

    Again, I appreciate the dialog and if I came across as harsh & scolding (cue Lucy from “The Peanuts” 😉 ), I apologize.

    Peace & prayers for a blessed Christmas 🙂

  10. Faithful says:

    It seems to me if we look at understanding the time period we live in, the answer is obvious.

    The year we are living in is 2013 soon to be 2014. The year is not 1950 soon to be 1951. In 1950 there were usually multiple priests living together in a parish. It was very easy for a parish to schedule not only A daily mass, but several daily masses to give each priest an opportunity to pray the Mass, and give people who work an opportunity to come to Mass if they wished. This was also easy because in those days there was no such thing as a “Vigil Mass.” The earliest Christmas Mass would have been at Midnight.

    In the year 2013 the harvest is abundant but as everyone knows the laborers are few. This is for many reasons. Since many parishes no longer have multiple priests, but rather several parishes share a priest it is difficult especially on a day like Christmas Eve for a priest to have a morning Mass. Now that vigil masses are more popular than the actual day itself one priest might have to celebrate 3 Christmas Eve Masses with one of them being a midnight Mass. Christmas Day a priest might have another 2-3 masses to celebrate. Now you want a Christmas Eve day Mass on top of all that. Do you realize what you are asking?

    Given all this I do not think anyone should practically expect there to be a daily Mass on Christmas Eve day and should consider themselves fortunate if they are in a parish where scheduling a Mass in the morning is possible.

    You also have to keep in mind Canon Law which does not permit a priest to celebrate more than ONE mass on a given day, only due to pastoral necessity and then only with permission from the bishop may a priest celebrate a second mass on a given day. On a Holy day (Christmas Eve is not considered the Holy Day, Christmas DAY is) a priest may celebrate two masses, three due to pastoral necessity and with permission of the bishop.

    Many priests already take liberties with Canon Law on Christmas Eve by celebrating three Masses (and I don’t blame them) However, again, while I realize it is far from ideal not to have a daily mass on Christmas Eve day, nevertheless I think it understandable why that is simply not practical in many cases.

    Anyone reading this who is indignant that they cannot find a Christmas Eve day Mass—if you are single and male, why not consider seminary so you can remedy this as a priest? I enjoy reading this blog and agree with most of the postings. However not everything can be blamed in laziness or liberalism even in a place like the Diocese of Rochester.

  11. Hopefull says:

    I take issue with Faithful’s seeming to chide those of us who wanted such a special Mass on the last day of Advent. Get over the 1950’s. I’m talking about last year, and the year before and the year before that. I’m sick and tired of complaints about how hard the priest works, and how many Masses he can say, and looking for excuses to cut one more thing. If he isn’t becoming a priest to tend to the Lord in Liturgy and the flock in need, why IS he becoming a priest? Dropping Masses isn’t cutting pastoral care? Think again. And many priests do have the discretion on a particular occasion to determine the pastoral care which is needed without asking the Bishop to micromanage him.

    Consider too that if there is no AM Mass on Christmas Eve, one has to go to one of the vigil Masses just to get to Mass on the day before Christmas. Since the AM liturgy is formulated, shown on the USCCB site and in all the missals, why is anybody excusing having no Liturgy? The expectation reasonably lies with having a Mass. Maybe some elderly priests or lone prastors can’t do it but I haven’t seen a single bulletin that explained why it wasn’t being held, and giving times at a few other nearby churches which do hold the Liturgy. It is as if “Who cares? It’s just a weekday Mass. Drop it and maybe no one will notice!” After all the churches that have been closed, one would think more than a smattering of churches could well hold an AM liturgy on Christmas Eve.

    I was going to take this post down after today, but I think I’ll leave it up so we can see if there really are any other places we’ve missed counting. Some souls need a priest and a parish community which provides this level of care. Don’t tell me a parish with 3 or 4 priests and one or two church locations can’t do a single AM Mass on Christmas Eve. Most parishes are MIA from the list. There is no reason to manufacture excuses for the lapse.

    Faithful asks: “Do you realize what you are asking?” Yes, Faithful, I think it is called being faithful to one’s responsibilities. And, remember, “laziness” and “liberalism” are your words, not mine. I just want what Mother Church in her wisdom provides for her children.

  12. Faithful says:


    I am so glad for your post. I see you are one of the people who take exception to my remarks about a weekday Mass for Advent. I am sure you will be encouraging vocations to the priesthood and religious life in order that the needs of the faithful can be met in the future.

    The thing I think you are forgetting is that priests are not simply “sacramental dispensers.” The Mass is not magic, and the celebration of the sacraments are not magic. There is more to celebrating a Mass as I am sure a hopeful Catholic like you understands that simply getting up and saying the words.

    In the second place, more importantly—I find it rather ironic that you think the Canons that govern the celebration of Mass can simply be dismissed at will. You find priests who keep to those canons as making excuses. If we can dismiss the Canons that govern the amount of times a priest can celebrate a Mass, why can’t we dismiss the canons that govern the closure of churches with the same ease?

    In many ways, if we take your post seriously you are no better than the liberals whom this blog of “cleansing Fire” is always writing against. Canon Law is Canon Law. Liberals who break Canon Law and give communion to non-catholics (for example) are just as bad as conservatives who break Canon Law governing the mount of times a priest can celebrate Mass. If we cannot break Canon Law and give communion to a non-Catholic (for example) why can we dismiss the Canons that govern the amount of times a priest can licitly celebrate a Mass? If we can easily dismiss the canons that govern the amount of times a priest can licitly celebrate a Mass, why can’t bishops as easily dismiss the canons that governed when a Church can be relegated to profane use?

    Here is the harsh reality: if you are going to pick and choose what canons you will and will not follow, how is that different from a Cafeteria Catholic? Canon Law is Canon Law.

    The reality is that there is no difference between conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics. BOTH are as disobedient to the laws of the Church. The only difference is WHICH laws they choose not to obey. Conservative Catholics think they are more Catholic than the pope, and thus they are disobediently obedient. liberals on the other hand disobey the laws—but make no bones about the fact that they disobey the laws. The end result is the same: disobedience for one’s own agenda.

    The law is the law, is it not?

  13. Hopefull says:

    Here’s why your preceding comments are completely off base, Faithful — because the subject Canon allows for pastoral need. The other Canons you refer to do not. And yes I do encourage and pray for vocations to the priesthood, but sourpusses (to use Pope Francis’ vocabulary) who bemoan how hard they work certainly don’t attract vocations.

    I’m surprised that you would even use the words “sacramental dispensing” about the Mass. You are the one using words like “magic” and “pick and choose” and “say the words” which all denigrate the Holy Mass and the faithful priests who say it obediently. I’ve noticed that priests who do the most complaining also seem to be those who like to put their own little quirks into and improvements on the Mass, their “personal signature” if you will, personal opinions as intercessions, jokes. Maybe that disobedience is part of their stress which obedience to the norms would alleviate.

    All your name calling of conservative Catholics as “disobedient” is based on your false premise of equivalence of Canons, and ignoring the condition of pastoral need. A straw man if ever there were one.

    BTW, your earlier comment about Midnight Mass being one of the Masses of Christmas Eve is wrong. Midnight Mass is a Christmas Mass, not a Christmas Eve Vigil Mass.

  14. Faithful says:


    Actually you are right: Canon Law DOES allow for pastoral provisions—which is WHY the Canons permit priests to celebrate up to two masses per day, three on a Sunday or holy day. When I get the chance I am going to consult my commentary on Canon Law to see what other information I can find on this issue.

    I find it interesting that you summarily dismiss the Canons governing how many masses a priest would celebrate as not important. Basically what you are saying is those canons don’t need to be taken seriously, but the canons you like do. How else does one determine which canons are important and which are not except by their own personal preference?

    Since you don’t want parishes closed or consolidated (who does) those canons are important and bishops better follow canon law. However you also want Mass Christmas Eve day, so priests who break Canon Law to provide you with this are commendable, pastoral, hard working, etc.–because they like you understand which Canons are really important, and the ones which govern the amount of times a priest can celebrate Mass are unimportant.

    The reason those Canons exist is to try to PREVENT the Mass from becoming routine and machine like for good and faithful priests.

    The reason I said “Mass is not magic” or “saying the words” is was to try to remind you that the Mass should never be routine–that is for priests who do say the mass reverently or faithfully it is not just a matter of saying words–it is not as easy as that. Three masses might not sound like it is a lot of work–but it IS especially for an older priest who has to get up Christmas morning to say the “mass at dawn” as well.

    I for one do not think a priest who celebrates three Christmas Eve Masses (one of which is a midnight mass) is lazy, and I sure don’t think that is what the pope had in mind when he called on priests not to be lazy.

    You are not wrong for desiring to attend a Christmas Eve day Mass. Your desire is commendable. All I am trying to say is that modern reality suggests that it is not always practical for Christmas Eve day mass to be provided and I would not criticize priests who do not provide one being lazy.

  15. Hopefull says:

    Faithful, unfortunately what is prolonging this and being divisive is your personal style. Knock off the “you” and just say what you believe because saying “you” forces words on me that I never said, and are judgemental as well. I find the height of arrogance in your words: “so priests who break Canon Law to provide you with this are commendable, pastoral, hard working, etc.–because they like you understand which Canons are really important…” I never said any of that, nor did I use words like “lazy” e.g. nor did I “dismiss” let alone “summarily dismiss” or even imply that every priest has to say a Christmas Eve AM Mass, nor did I say Mass–every Mass– shouldn’t be said reverently. I love the expression that every Mass should be said as if it were the priest’s first Mass, last Mass, and ONLY Mass he ever said. BTW, so should each of our Communions be in that same spirit, although perhaps we don’t all succeed all the time.

    Pastoral need is commonly understood at least in local practice to include more than the “second Mass.” What are priests to do who say a morning Mass, then have a funeral, sometimes even a wedding and on Saturday may have a vigil Mass as well? I am not advocating for that, but clearly there is more pastoral need than many people realize. And priests need to be able to assess the pastoral needs, on a real time basis, and prioritize. Confecting the Eucharist and forgiving sins are two things that only a priest can do. It’s important and should influence decisions of the priest, and of how those decisions are viewed by the people.

    But when planning to drop a Mass like the last Mass of the Advent cycle, why wouldn’t those pastors bother to find out and publish in the bulletin or parish website WHERE the people can find a Mass he is not able to offer? Why do we have to seek out an alternative, one Mass attendee at a time? What are these local planning group for if not some measure of coordination and sharing of information and resources?

    Since posting, I have received several separate emails in the vein of “Thank you. I would have gone over to the regular daily Mass and been disappointed to find the church empty….” and “My husband and I gave up after checking a few places because we couldn’t find a Mass and we really wanted to go…” etc.

    Look, Faithful, I am willing to dialogue on this, but not to spend half my comment words saying I didn’t say what you clearly imply I did. If you continue to do that, I’ll just have it deleted. I need to be a better steward of my time, and of this post than replying to easily misinterpreted accusations repeatedly. I hope you have a Blessed Christmas instead.

  16. Richard Thomas says:

    Faithful. I wouldn’t go as far as saying all conservatives are hippocrits

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