Media and Communications Office
The Archdiocese of Melbourne has announced it will not celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas night in St Patrick's Cathedral, instead opting to celebrate the Mass at 9pm.
In a radio interview this morning, Archbishop Denis Hart explained some of the reasons for the decision:
- The Roman Missal refers to Mass in the night for Christmas. It does not say Midnight Mass. The Mass is expected to be 'in the night', meaning after dark, and the 9pm time satisfies this.
- The Easter Vigil Mass is not held at midnight, rather it is held at 8pm.
- The earlier time of 9pm will allow a greater cross-section of the faithful to attend, including the elderly and families with children.
- Many Catholics in Melbourne come from cultures that follow the Mass of Christmas night with a family celebration and meal. The earlier time better allows for this.
Archbishop Hart confirmed that midnight Masses will still be held in the parishes if they wish. The decision refers only to the St Patrick's Cathedral Parish and was made after consultation with key staff involved in organising the liturgy.