Mass at Midnight on Christmas Morning

Saturday, January 2, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

This Christmas my local parish was something to behold. Midnight Mass began with light only from decorations on the Evergreen trees, the Priest, escorted by the Deacon and members of the local Knights of Columbus, processed through the Pews with an icon of the baby Jesus to be laid in the Manger. The entire Church was silent and it was beautiful.

As is typical of Christmas and to a lesser extent Easter Masses, the Church was full. This is an unusual circumstance for my parish, as on any typical Sunday the Church is probably half empty. In New England, people who don’t usually come to Church come to Church on Christmas. This is a disheartening aspect of Catholic life in America. Is there anything that can or should be done about it?

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Saturday, January 2, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  I have long had an appreciation for the simple beauty of the Japanese National Anthem, the Kimigayo.

May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss

I first became familiar with it through a friend of mine, a retired Methodist minister who served as a Navy corpsman with the Marines during World War II, including fighting on Guadalcanal, and who was among the first wave of occupation troops after the Japanese surrender.  He helped treat Japanese at Hiroshima.  He said that the fondess he developed for the Japanese and their culture was not the smallest miracle God worked in his life.