Christmas Masses



Q.  Should a reenactment of the Nativity story be included during a Christmas Mass?


A.  The directive given in the Introduction to the Lectionary for Masses with Children states:

“The Mass is not an historical reenactment of the events of salvation history and care should be taken not to give the impression that the liturgy of the Word is a play. This is not to say that dramatic elements may not be used, e.g., the readings may at times be divided into parts distributed among the children (Directory for Masses with Children #47); however, the use of costumes, etc., is more appropriate in the context of other celebrations or services. Care should be taken especially at Christmas and during Holy Week and the Easter Triduum not to stage the various liturgies as plays. The Christmas Mass should not be presented as a birthday party for Jesus, nor should secular notions of Santa Claus be introduced into the Christmas liturgy. (Lectionary Masses for Children #52)


Q.  May the parish offer early Masses on Christmas Eve for the children?


A.  According to the diocesan Pastoral Manual, (section M-3-II-B-1), anticipated Masses (also referred to as a Vigil Mass) may not begin any earlier than 4:00 pm.


Q.  Can the Lectionary for Masses with Children be used at the Children’s Christmas       Mass? 

A.  The readings from the Lectionary for Masses with Children may only be used when the Liturgy of the Word with the children is held in a place apart from the main assembly.


Q.  If the parish is offering a Children’s Liturgy of the Word in a separate place apart from the Church, which readings should be used?


A.  If this case, the readings from either the Mass of the vigil, at midnight, at dawn, or during the day may be used.


Q.  What is the earliest time for a Christmas Eve Mass to begin?


A.  According to the Pastoral Manual, (section M-3-II-B-1), Anticipated Masses (also referred to as a Vigil Mass) may not begin any earlier than 4:00 pm. A pastor must seek written permission from the Local Ordinary to offer a Vigil Mass before 4:00pm.


Q.  What is the correct posture during the words of incarnation in the Creed?


A.  The Creed is sung or recited by the priest together with the people with everyone standing. At the words 'et incarnatus est' (by the power of the Holy Spirit ... became man) all make a profound bow; but on the Solemnities of the Annunciation and of the Nativity of the Lord, all genuflect.