Church of St Mary & St John
11.30pm Sunday 24 December: Christmas Eve
Since at least the twelfth century Christians have kept three Eucharists of Christmas: one in the night, one in the early morning, and one later in the morning. The Parish of Cowley St John retains that tradition, with a Eucharist at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve followed by Eucharists at 9.30am (at St Alban’s Church) and 10.45am (at the Church of St Mary & St John) on Christmas Day.
Tonight’s first Eucharist of Christmas, commonly called ‘Midnight Mass’, is sung to the timeless music if plainsong (Gregorian chant) by a schola of upper voices. Gregorian Mass VIII, the beloved ‘Missa de Angelis’, is sung, along with the Christmas introit ‘Puer natus est’; and the service also includes popular Christmas carols, organ music, and a short homily.