I wish to ask about the difference between the Christmas Vigil Mass and the Christmas Midnight Mass, because I find that few people differentiate between the two. Until now I did not. I hope this is the right forum in which to post this question - it was the nearest I could find for a discussion thread.
After the attack on HH Pope Benedict XVI on 24 Dec 2009, the news articles used “Vigil Mass” and “Christmas Eve Mass” and “Midnight Mass” to describe the time of the event.
I assumed there was the normal Mass for the day (Christmas Eve) which would be in the morning and then Christmas Mass which also fell on Christmas Eve for the midnight Mass. Apparently not - the Vigil Mass comes later, before the Midnight Mass. The readings I am familiar with from the 5pm/7pm/8pm/10pm/12am Masses I’ve attended are the Midnight Mass readings.
Evidence that the Christmas Vigil Mass and the Christmas Midnight Mass are not the same:
USCCB listing of readings for Christmas Vigil Mass
Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29
Acts 13:16-17, 22-25
Mt 1:1-25 or 1:18-25
USCCB listing of readings for Christmas Midnight Mass, first of the three Christmas Masses
Ps 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13
Pope Benedict’s Midnight Mass sermon
The Vatican website lists it as being the Midnight Mass sermon. It cites the readings for Midnight Mass. It does not list the sermons for the 2nd and 3rd Masses - are they the same?
Zenit lists it as being the Christmas Vigil Mass sermon. “Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave tonight at the Christmas Vigil Mass in the Vatican”
When was the pope attacked?
Clearly at the Midnight Mass, the one that was moved to 10pm from midnight.
Zenit says it was at the Christmas Vigil Mass. “Benedict XVI is unhurt after he was knocked down tonight as he entered St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the Christmas vigil Mass, reports a Vatican spokesman.”
From the same page: “The Christmas vigil Mass was celebrated for the first time in recent memory at 10 p.m., instead of at midnight, in an effort to make Christmas “a little less tiring for the Pope.””
The Vatican press communication does not specify which Mass.
The BBC calls it the Christmas Eve Mass. “A shaken Pope Benedict has celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica shortly after being knocked over by a female spectator.” … “The Christmas Eve service in the Vatican started two hours early because officials did not want the pontiff, 82, to get tired.”
The Daily Mirror calls it Midnight Mass.
The New York Times calls it the Christmas Eve Mass and specifies the time of the early 10pm Midnight Mass.
When is the real Christmas Vigil Mass (i.e. not the Midnight Mass) usually celebrated? I have never heard of one, or been to one, to my knowledge, unless 24 Dec was on a Sunday and that was the Mass that morning.
The Sphere has an original Associated Press error (removed from most of the articles) that said, “As a choir sang, he sprinkled incense on the altar before opening the Mass with the traditional wish for peace in Latin.” I doubt he sprinkled incense anywhere. :eek: