I hope to see you at Mass for the celebration of Christmas this week. The Christmas Masses at
Holy Name Cathedral will be offered beginning on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24, at 4:00pm and 6:00pm. That 4:00pm Mass on Christmas Eve usually is as crowded a Mass as
we have all year. If 4:00pm is your choice, be sure to get here early. Especially if you drive to Church and want a space in our lot, get here early. Father Lou Cameli will be the celebrant at 4:00pm. An alternative might be the 6:00pm Mass which draws a fine crowd, but usually has some seats available. Those driving should delay trying to get into the lot until the massive 4:00 crowd clears out – about 5:30pm. Assisting me with the homily at 6:00pm for the tenth consecutive year will be our friends The Ides of March, a great Chicago rock band. Formed in the mid-1960s in west suburban Berwyn by four teenagers now my age and still – all four – a part of the band, the Ides continue to entertain their fans all over the USA. They celebrated their 50th year in 2014. They will be joined by legendary radio personality Dick Biondi of WLS-FM. Together, all of us will help you share Christmas. The Mass at Midnight will be broadcast locally on WGN-TV, Channel 9; on WGN-TV’s web page, and on WGN radio. Archbishop Blase Cupich (his first one) and concelebrating priests of the Cathedral will offer that grand liturgy. Francis Cardinal George plans to attend. Tickets that reserve a seat have been distributed. If you want a ticket, phone our office –
312-787-8040. Some may be left. It is too late to mail them; but
if we have reserved tickets remaining, you may be able to get them at 730 N. Wabash. Still, do not be scared away. The doors will be open to all beginning at 11:20pm Wednesday; those in line can
fill-in any unclaimed places. In the last thirteen years, no one has been turned away from the Midnight Mass. Our music ministry will begin the carols at 11:25pm. On Thursday, Christmas Day itself, there will be six Christmas liturgies at 7:00am with Father John Boivin; at 8:15am with Father Ramil Fajardo; at 9:30am with Father Bill Moriarity; at 11:00am with Father Brad Zamora; at 12:30pm with Father Don Cambe; and at 5:15pm with me. Even though we come together to celebrate Christmas Wednesday and Thursday, do not forget your obligation to attend Mass again on the following Saturday or Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family, at the normal weekend Mass hours. I am going to look for you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at the most beautiful Church in Chicago, where Chicago goes to pray, Holy Name Cathedral.
Can I go to confession on Christmas Eve? Yes, you can. Few Chicago Churches are able to offer confessions on Christmas Eve, even the famous St. Peter’s in the Loop that regularly offers such a great opportunity for Confession all day long in the middle of the City. On Wednesday, for two hours, - but only for two hours - Cathedral confessors will be available. On the lower level of the Cathedral, confessors will be in Reconciliation Rooms from 1:00-3:00pm. Note, however, that 3:00 is the cut-off. The priests must leave at 3:00 to prepare for later liturgies. “I’ll get there at 2:55.”
I know that if you do so, your confession will not be heard. If you want your sins sacramentally forgiven on Christmas Eve, arrive by 2:00pm. We are happy to offer this annual preparation for Christmas.
At the Loyola University Museum of Art, 820 N. Michigan Avenue, they have two special Christmas exhibitions. Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan is an annual tradition evoking themes of family and love. The collection stirs emotional response highlighting how artists from different cultures interpret the sacred incarnation. Swaddled in Stone: Shona Sculptures of the Holy Family is a collection of Zimbabwean sculptures of the Holy Family by Shona artists. The sculptors utilize various stones from the rich mineral reserves of eastern Africa. The exhibition features pieces by Washington Msonza and Kennedy Musekiwa. The LUMA is across the street from the Water Tower. From 11:00am until 8:00pm on Tuesdays, it is free! Wednesdays through Sundays, the hours are 11:00am until 6:00pm; admission is $8 for adults, $6 for those 65 and older. Students with a Loyola ID always are admitted free. The LUMA will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; but the featured exhibitions will remain until January 4.
Gloves, hand-crafted winter hats, toys, Walgreens cards, Jewel stamps and other human needs have been collected in the past month by commissions and other ministries while regular services like the Thursday/Friday suppers and Chicago Shares continued. Our style of prayer inside the Cathedral is excellent. What Holy Name does after we leave identifies us as disciples of Christ.
Our parish relies greatly on what gets offered by our parishioners in the basket on Christmas. If you are a Cathedral parishioner, please be sure to contribute on Christmas to the ministries, services, facilities, and programs that give us our deserved reputation as Chicago’s premier parish. If you give every Christmas, I say thank you. I also ask you to consider raising the gift this year. Whether you give via the mail, online, or in the Christmas collection basket itself, help make our great parish even greater. Again, thank you.
Is it my imagination or does there seem to be more stories of violence in the news this near-Christmas season? The violence is international, national, and on our Chicago streets. A cynical approach to Christmas might seem understandable. Instead, listen to a part of Christmas Bells, a Civil War poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!
Msgr. Dan Mayall