Anglican Church to Celebrate Midnight Mass in Picayune
Published 10:54 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022
By Father Larry Wagoner
Special to the Daily News
PICAYUNE – Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and there is no celebration quite like Midnight Mass.
From the massed singing of Christmas Hymns hat ring down through the years hailing the birth of the Christ child in tiny Bethlehem, to the solemn intonation of the Calends – the placing of the birth of Jesus within the context of history – the service is designed to stir the soul and the emotions to praise and worship.
Rev. Larry Wagoner, Rector of Holy Angels Anglican Catholic Church in Picayune, Ms., says the service stirs even the hardest of hearts. “It calls out to us through the 2000-plus years since His birth in Bethlehem,” said Wagoner. “Every one of us knows the story – no matter what our backgrounds might be. We have heard it since we were children, even in the words of the old “A Charlie Brown Christmas” show. That show, first aired in 1965, was based on the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip by the late Charles M. Shultz, and featured a young Linus Van Pelt taking the stage at a school auditorium in response to Charlie Brown’s plaintive plea that someone explain Christmas to him.
“For behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Those stirring words, from the second chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Luke, tell the tale of the very Son of God, born in a stable in Bethlehem, and the message of the Angels told to the shepherds, who would bring the news to so many. It is a story that we learned as children, which stirred us then, and continues to do so today.
Even when our lives are complicated, and we find stress at every turn, we can still turn back to that time in our lives when all we needed was the assurance of love – and that is, of course, the essential message of Christmas – that we are loved – by God Himself.
The Christmas Midnight Mass at Holy Angels begins at 10:45 p.m. It is led off with the singing of a selection of Christmas Carols and Hymns. Then, the chapel is darkened, and the Calends are read. Next, a single candle is lit and processed to the front of the church, where it is used to light the Jesus Candle in the center of the Advent Wreath. That flame is then used to light the candles on the altar, and the lights in the church are brought up. The Mass is precisely timed so that just after the stroke of midnight, parishioners begin to receive Holy Communion – which we believe to be the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The church is located at 1811 East Canal Street in Picayune. Everyone is welcome to attend, and if you have been validly baptized (in the name of the Holy Trinity) you are welcome to receive communion with us. For more information, please contact Father Larry Wagoner at (601) 590-0553.