Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm now back in the parish, having spent a few days at home doing absolutely nothing. In the absence of the parish priest, it was my task to celebrate last night's Midnight Mass (for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God). When I first came across these New Year Midnight Masses, I was rather dubious since they seemed to have no precedent in tradition and I wasn't sure whether they were officially approved. However, more and more parishes organise them and they are particularly popular with the African and West Indian communities.

Following on from last night, I think that organising some sort of religious service for New Year's Eve is an excellent idea since it effectively Christianizes a very secular celebration and provides a viable alternative to getting drunk or watching ridiculous TV shows like 'The Most Annoying People of 2007.' What better way is there to start the new calendar year than by adoring the Blessed Sacrament or attending Mass?

About 500 people came last night (which far exceeded my expectations). We started with half an hour's adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At the moment of Midnight (more or less) Benediction was given, surrounded by bells (inside the church) and fireworks (outside). I then exchanged my cope for a gold chasuble and Mass began. We sang the Veni Creator, which is customary for the New Year and is also indulgenced. Another time it would be good to sing the Te Deum in the last moments of the old year, which is an indulgenced devotion for 31 December.

The Catholic papers recently had a report about the many (mostly urban) parishes that move the Christmas Midnight Mass to an earlier time due to security concerns (both for church and pasrishioners). I sympathise with them. However, living in a parish that straddles, according to a 2007 survey, two of the most 'undesirable' London Boroughs (Islington and Hackney), I'm delighted to report that there was absolutely no trouble at either of the Midnight Masses we've had this last week. And fears of security did not put off the 500 faithful who chose to attend each of them.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Happy New Year, Father!

P.S. You know the indulgence re Veni Creator... do you know if private recitation counts if your Parish doesn't sing Veni Creator?

10:23 am  
Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

We're having a few 'nuisances' about..stories that would make your hair stand on end! But i'll contain myself!

2:06 pm  
Blogger Mary Jane said...

Happy New Year, Father! We had a Holy Hour, Solemn First Vespers, and Te Deum after our vigil Mass last evening. And we drew a respectable number. Not easy to do in a resort town known for its intensive partying.

2:38 pm  
Anonymous Pat Mc said...

Happy New Year to you Father, and to all your readers.
I like the idea of a midnight Mass for the New Year, it sounds like the perfect way to celebrate.

4:52 pm  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Happy New Year, Father!

7:54 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Mark - plenary indulgences normally apply to public devotions, so I don't think a purely private recitation would qualify!

10:15 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

I was curious, because really I didn't expect our Parish to sing it. It was academic anyway, because Mass was rescheduled without me knowing. Thanks anyway, Father.

10:07 am  
Blogger Coffeeaddictsam said...

Our parish stopped doing Midnight Mass at Christmas several years ago, as the priest liked to be in bed early. It seems unlikely we will ever get a Mass to usher in the New Year if we can't even persuade the Priests to have one for Christmas.

As an aside, this year we went to Midnight Mass, for Christmas, in a nearby village, and the ciborium was taken sometime between the start of mass and the Offertory. It was found in some nearby bushes the next day, but was a very sad start to Christmas.

5:12 pm  
Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Have included you on our Parish raffle post with Fr Guy!

8:49 pm  
Blogger David said...

I hope "The Most Annoying People of 2007" is a fictitious title...
Thank you very much, also, Father, for the link in your sidebar to my blog, http://soulsjourneyhome.blogspot.com.

5:38 pm  

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