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  #1  
Unread 22nd December 2011, 12:38 AM
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Midnight mass - what a non-Catholic should expect?

Hello Catholics!

I've decided to attend midnight mass this year. I've never been to one before, so I have no idea what to expect. Is there anything I should know before I waltz on in by myself? I've been to a regular Sunday Catholic service long ago, should I expect sort of the same thing but with lesser parking spaces? I imagine it being packed! How early should I show up?

Thanks.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 12:47 AM
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Great questions. I'm taking my non-Catholic wife to midnight mass on Christmas Eve for her first Catholic mass.

Honestly, I haven't been to mass in years. If I could add one question to the OP's questions, has the mass changed significantly recently? I was told that the mass was being changed somewhat within the last few months.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by obeythe84th View Post
Hello Catholics!

I've decided to attend midnight mass this year. I've never been to one before, so I have no idea what to expect. Is there anything I should know before I waltz on in by myself? I've been to a regular Sunday Catholic service long ago, should I expect sort of the same thing but with lesser parking spaces? I imagine it being packed! How early should I show up?

Thanks.
There is a new translation of the Mass in many English speaking countries (the Mass is written in Latin and then translated into different languages by the various regions). This may actually be a benefit to you if you were not familiar with the responses. The new responses should be in a little booklet in the pews.

I would get there early- 15 to 20 minutes should be fine. Most Catholic parishes and the Mass times are designed around how many Catholics actually go. There are many Catholics who only go at Christmas and Easter and non-Catholics often go as well. The result is that many people are left standing during the Mass.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SpiritualAntiseptic View Post
There is a new translation of the Mass in many English speaking countries (the Mass is written in Latin and then translated into different languages by the various regions). This may actually be a benefit to you if you were not familiar with the responses. The new responses should be in a little booklet in the pews.

I would get there early- 15 to 20 minutes should be fine. Most Catholic parishes and the Mass times are designed around how many Catholics actually go. There are many Catholics who only go at Christmas and Easter and non-Catholics often go as well. The result is that many people are left standing during the Mass.
I'm going to emphasize that whole second part, because it's quite important. Our parish, which is only having four Masses from the Vigil until Christmas (three English, one Spanish), will be packed if anyone shows up later than that suggested time.

Also, and this may sound like a joke, find out what time Midnight Mass is. Not everyone has it at midnight. I've been asking around every year (I end up in different towns almost yearly) and can't get a straight answer because people think I'm joking. One year, a parish I occasionally attended started at 11:30PM. So it's something to keep in mind.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 08:56 AM
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it is a bit longer, some incense, crowded
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 10:32 AM
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It's not too different than a regular Sunday mass. Usually there are more songs.
It's more crowded and a lot more incense.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by obeythe84th View Post
Hello Catholics!

I've decided to attend midnight mass this year. I've never been to one before, so I have no idea what to expect. Is there anything I should know before I waltz on in by myself? I've been to a regular Sunday Catholic service long ago, should I expect sort of the same thing but with lesser parking spaces? I imagine it being packed! How early should I show up?

Thanks.
Judging on my experiences over the years, I'd get there at least a half-hour early; parking spots and pew seats will be at a premium. It's better to get there too early and have to wait for the doors to open than it is to have to walk a quarter of a mile to the church and then end up standing in the side aisle for the duration of the Mass. Christmas and Easter are two times you can guarantee the church will be absolutely packed.

The Mass itself will be a bit more elaborate and a bit longer, due to incensing, etc.; if incense smoke bothers you, I would advise sitting in the middle of the church or a bit further back, because the apse of the church is going to be billowing with smoke, enough to make your eyes water.

And, as mentioned, you may find the responses a little different due to the revised Mass responses that went unto effect at the start of Advent.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for the tips everyone, there is definitely some good advice here.

Also, just out of curiosity, what does 'start of the Advent' mean. Forgive my ignorance, when was that, and what was that?

Another question I have is in regards to attire for mass. I want to blend in as best I can, so should I wear suit and tie or jeans and polo? A silly question, I know.
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by obeythe84th View Post
Thanks for the tips everyone, there is definitely some good advice here.

Also, just out of curiosity, what does 'start of the Advent' mean. Forgive my ignorance, when was that, and what was that?

Another question I have is in regards to attire for mass. I want to blend in as best I can, so should I wear suit and tie or jeans and polo? A silly question, I know.
advent is a time to get ready for Christmas in a spiritual way
not really a time for fasting, more like "peace on earth good will towards man"
though i have heard of some people fasting
we had a special repentance cerimony at my church but it is not really a penitantial season, more joyful
though penance can be part of it, John the Baptist told people to repent because the Lamb of God was coming
it starts 4 sundays before christmas

lol what to wear? well that really depends on the church you are going to
I am sure the ones in more affluent areas will have people in suits, while ones in poorer areas will have less of that, I think a nice Polo and maybe some khakis or black slacks would be fine, jeans are ok but for christmas mass you might stand out a little, but then agian you might not, depends on the parish
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Unread 22nd December 2011, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by obeythe84th View Post
Thanks for the tips everyone, there is definitely some good advice here.

Also, just out of curiosity, what does 'start of the Advent' mean. Forgive my ignorance, when was that, and what was that?

Another question I have is in regards to attire for mass. I want to blend in as best I can, so should I wear suit and tie or jeans and polo? A silly question, I know.
Advent is a four-week liturgical season which leads up to Christmas; it's a time of preparing yourself for the birth of the Christ Child on the 25th.

And wear whatever you want to, bucko. Most people dress up a ittle, but if you want to come in a sweatshirt and jeans, there isn't a priest that I know of who wouldn't be absolutely delighted to have you. I went to Midnight Mass one year in a police uniform, complete with duty belt (I locked my gun, combat knife, and pepper spray up in the trunk of the car). Got inside and we were only a row or two down from a United States Marine in dress blues. (His uniform was a lot more resplendent than mine was, however.)
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