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  • Midnight Masses and family traditions

    Christmas invokes images of families gathered around the tree opening gifts and seated at the table for a large feast. This year’s feast will be even more special for me, as my husband Ron and I have been invited to spend Christmas Eve dinner with our friends of Polish descent (Tom is Polish by heritage, and Asia was born and raised there). Polish tradition entails making 10-12 different dishes from recipes passed down for generations. Dinner starts when you see the first star in the evening sky, and everyone must try each dish.

    Another tradition for many families, including Asia’s, is to attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

    Since this is their first Christmas in Ashburn, I offered to find a Midnight Mass for us to attend. Once I started looking for churches near their home that might have a Midnight Mass, that led to a search of all the churches in the diocese — more out of curiosity at this point, especially since I remember a few years ago friends complaining that many churches in the area did not hold the traditional midnight vigil Mass anymore, opting for an earlier evening Mass instead.

    After searching church websites for bulletins or calendar listings, I came up with the list below of more than 30 churches in the diocese celebrating Midnight Mass.

    I have included a few churches at the end of the list that have Masses starting at 11 p.m.

    If there is a concert or other musical event scheduled prior to Mass, that is listed after the name and location of each church.

    Check your local parish for full schedules of other Masses on Christmas Eve. And, as one parish secretary told me when I called for the time of their Mass, “Get there early if you want a seat, it gets pretty packed.”

    Merry Christmas and God bless.

    Churches celebrating Midnight Mass:

    All Saints, Manassas
    11:15 p.m. — Musical meditations on the Nativity featuring the Adult Choir, Handbell Choir, Chamber Orchestra. Includes Christmas Carols for the congregation.

    Blessed Sacrament Church, Alexandria
    11:30 p.m. — Lessons and Carols

    Church of the Nativity, Burke
    11 p.m. — Musical meditation on the Nativity featuring the Adult Choir and will include Christmas Carols

    Good Shepherd, Alexandria
    Mass celebrated in Spanish

    Holy Spirit, Annandale

    Holy Trinity, Gainesville
    11:30 p.m. — Music program

    Our Lady of Angels, Woodbridge

    Our Lady of Good Counsel, Vienna

    Our Lady of Hope, Potomac Falls
    Mass celebrated with choir and orchestra

    Our Lady Queen of Peace, Arlington
    11:30 p.m. — Lessons and carols

    Queen of Apostles, Alexandria
    11:30 p.m. — Adult choir concert

    St. Andrew the Apostle, Clifton

    St. Bernadette, Springfield
    11:15 p.m. — Concert

    St. Clare of Assisi, Clifton

    St. Anthony of Padua Mission, King George
    11:30 p.m. — Carols
    Traditional Latin Mass

    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Lake Ridge

    St. James, Falls Church

    St. John the Apostle, Leesburg

    St. John the Baptist, Front Royal
    11:15 p.m. — Christmas music concert

    St. John the Beloved, McLean
    11:15 p.m. — Music Prelude
    Solemn High Mass in English at Midnight

    St. Joseph, Herndon
    Bi-lingual Midnight Mass with Spanish choir

    St. Lawrence, Alexandria
    11 p.m. — Christmas carols

    St. Leo the Great, Fairfax
    11:15 p.m. — Carols

    St. Louis, Alexandria

    St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Fredericksburg
    11 p.m. — Festival of carols

    St. Mary of Sorrows, Fairfax

    St. Matthew, Spotsylvania
    11:20 p.m. — Music prelude

    St. Patrick, Fredericksburg
    10:30 p.m. — Choir
    11:30 p.m. — Hymns and carols

    St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield
    11:30 p.m. — Christmas carols

    St. Rita, Alexandria
    11:30 p.m. — Musical prelude and carols

    St. Theresa, Ashburn

    St. Veronica, Chantilly
    11:30 p.m. — Carols

    St. William of York, Stafford

    Churches celebrating Mass at 11 p.m.:

    Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington
    10:15-11 p.m. — Carols and reading
    11-midnight —Vigil Mass with the Cathedral Choir

    Precious Blood, Culpeper
    11 p.m. — Spanish Mass

    St. Anthony, Falls Church
    10:30 p.m. — Christmas carols
    11 p.m. — Bilingual Mass

    St. Jude, Fredericksburg
    11 p.m. — Vigil Mass

    St. Mary, Alexandria
    11 p.m. — Solemn Mass during the night with choir, orchestra, and vocal soloists, featuring the “Coronation” Mass of Mozart, K. 317 (please note that this Mass will use incense)


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

    @Stacy Rausch