How is everyone coping with this year’s crazy Christmas schedule?
We had a spirited discussion in the abbey, including many emails back and forth. Should we move Office to 5pm Saturday and celebrate IV Advent Mass Saturday at 7pm? Or Sunday Mass 5pm Saturday and Office at 7pm? Then Sunday would have the usual offices plus Christmas Mass in the Night (which was always at midnight until Benedict XVI move it up and we gave in – it’s at 10pm now).
Or should we keep Sunday Mass at 10:30 am, though it’s Christmas Eve Day? And musicians could somehow have to cope with finding adequate preparation time.
Or move Sunday Mass earlier (for – let us be honest – those rather few who will attend)? 7:35 am after Morning Prayer? Or 8am as a more “normal” time for the sake of guests? We landed at keeping Sunday Mass on Sunday (I don’t believe we’ve ever done otherwise in the history of the abbey) and celebrating it immediately after Morning Prayer at 7:35. Then Noon Prayer, then 5pm Vigil Office (in the old church, now the “Great Hall,” because the local parish needs the large abbey church for their 6pm liturgy). And on to the Christmas sacred concert at 9:30 pm and Mass at 10pm.
For those who are curious: The obligation in canon law is to attend Mass on Sunday, not to attend Sunday Mass on Sunday. So in my understanding, a Christmas eve Mass on Sunday (at 3pm 4pm, 5pm or whatever) in fact does fulfill the Sunday obligation. But one Mass cannot fulfill two obligations, so you have to pick whether it’s your Sunday or your holy day Mass. If you attend Christmas eve Mass on Sunday, plus another Christmas Mass -whether on Sunday or on Monday, you’re good to go.