Anglican churches plan for midnight Mass

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For many believers in the Christian faith, the observance of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a tradition practiced each year.
Those wishing to celebrate the special occasion may do so at Holy Angels Anglican Catholic Church and St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Picayune.
The tradition began in the fifth century, based on the traditional belief that Jesus was born in the middle of the night, Holy Angels priest-in-charge Rev. Larry Wagoner said. The first recorded Midnight Mass was performed by Pope Sixtus III at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome around the year 430, said Wagoner.
“Many of the older Christmas hymns such as “Silent Night” reflect the tradition that Jesus was born mid-winter in the middle of the night,” Wagoner said. “This is one of two great festivals, the first being Easter, where we celebrate the resurrection. Christmas is the coming of Christ to Earth as a human.”
For Mass, the church is adorned with greenery and poinsettias, Wagoner said. A nativity scene is also displayed depicting Jesus laying in a manger with Joseph and Mary standing nearby. Animals and wise men are also included.
The services at Holy Angels will begin at about 10:50 p.m., Wagoner said. It begins with the singing of traditional Christmas hymns followed by a message celebrating the birth of Jesus. Just as the clock strikes midnight, communion begins.
“Mass permits people to participate in their holy obligation by receiving communion on Christmas,” Wagoner said.
All are welcome to attend Thursday’s Midnight Mass, no matter their faith, Wagoner said.
Holy Angels Anglican Catholic Church is located at 139 Kirkwood St. For more information, contact Wagoner at 601-590-0553.
St. Barnabas will host two Christmas Eve services, Fr. Jonathan Filkins said at 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.
There will be candlelight services and the singing of classical Christmas songs, Filkins said.
There will also be light refreshments served.
“Attendees will receive their communion shortly after midnight,” Filkins said. “They preform their first Christmas Day activity in church. All are welcome to attend.”
There will also be Christmas Day service at 10 a.m. Friday.
St. Barnabas Anglican Church is located at 201 Norwood St.
For more information, contact Filkins at 601-749-4663.

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