Advancing the mass of the rooster is something that does not happen often, especially in a country with one of the largest Catholic communities in Europe.
But this change shouldn’t alter things much. Because although it is known to be celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve, the Vatican has not officiated at that time since 2009.
Night mass but not necessarily at midnight
“From a liturgical point of view it is called a night mass, that means that it has to be celebrated during the night of Christmas Eve”, explains Vincenyo Corrado, communication director of the Italian Episcopal Conference. “For a few years the Vatican has celebrated it at half past nine. This shows that the exact time is not midnight, but a moment of the night.”
The bishops should discuss the matter with the local priests, who are responsible for deciding when to officiate the Masses according to the restrictions of each place.
“It is up to each priest to establish the schedules. I have heard that several dioceses plan to celebrate the mass of the rooster between 8.30am and 9am,” says Corrado.
Better than behind closed doors
Father Semenza celebrated the Easter services through Facebook for two and a half months. He remembers it as a different experience.
“Masses had to be officiated behind closed doors, that’s why I broadcast them over the internet. But it was a tough experience. Although changing the times of the masses can be quite annoying for many people, it is not a disruption like interrupting services. That is what happened during the confinement “.
Pope Francis will officiate Mass early so that attendees can return home on time.
“The traditional Christmas mass takes place in St. Peter’s Basilica on December 24 and in recent years it has started at half past nine. But here in the Vatican for the first time in 2020 it has been brought forward two hours to accommodate the restrictions established by the Italian Government, “says Euronews Rome correspondent Giorgia Orlandi.
“The least of our problems”
The faithful do not seem very concerned, and accept it without further ado.
“Not much will change as long as we can get organized,” says this woman. “We will probably have to have dinner earlier or after mass. What really matters is the religious aspect of the celebrations.”
“Changing the time of mass is the least of our problems,” says this man. “The important thing is to keep our faith and the spirit of Christmas alive.”
The important thing, indeed, is to participate. So if leaving on time to respect the curfew is crucial, it is also advisable to arrive early to ensure a good place.