Over the past decade or two, the people have spoken, and Catholic parishes have many more Masses on Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day. The three of us priests planned the schedule for our four parishes back in October. We guessed that folks wanted to attend at 4:00 p.m. So we scheduled a 4:00 p.m. Mass in all four churches. And we guessed right! Each church was packed. In fact, we has almost as many people participate in these four Masses (about 3,100) as our most recent October count for all 12 Sunday Masses (3,402). Our total count for 13 Masses was about 5,725. This means just about half of all registered parishioners attended a Christmas Mass, not counting the many visitors from near and far.
(Father Phil Farrell, our regional vicar, helped us with celebrating one of the four 4:00's, when Father Frank Erdeljac, a retired priest who lives in nearby West Pittsburg, went on the injured reserved list with back pain.)
So it was a truly blessed Christmas for our parishes. Here are photos of each church, and the interior Christmas decorations.
Mary Mother of Hope Parish
Interior, with Fontanini creche.
Accompanying scene of magi, and a village.
Detail of an angel, and a night watchman.
St. Joseph the Worker Parish
St. Vincent de Paul Parish
A second creche set in the vestibule.
St. Vitus Parish