How to Plan Ahead for Midnight Mass
Have You Attended Confession Recently?
Confirmed Catholics are required to attend confession at least once a year or as soon as possible if they have grave sins to confess.
If you haven't yet made your First Confession, or your last confession was prior to Confirmation, you might want to attend confession before you attend Midnight Mass and accept Holy Communion.
Which Mass Are You Planning To Attend?
Planning out which Mass you plan to attend in advance is a good idea, even if you don't plan to have anyone go with you or meet up with anyone.
You can expect Midnight Mass to be standing room only, so if you need to sit down for the service, it is worth arriving at your church at least 11.30pm on Christmas Eve to bag yourself somewhere to sit.
Alternatively, you might want to consider attending the evening Mass and giving Midnight Mass a miss, instead. If your church offers the evening Mass on Christmas Eve, you can expect it to be much quieter than the usual Saturday evening Masses that you might be used to attending because everyone is waiting for the Midnight Mass instead. Having attended both the Christmas Eve evening Mass and the Midnight Mass over Christmas 2016, I have decided that I will certainly be looking to attend the Mass in the evening of Christmas Eve where possible in future.
If you are planning to attend more than one Mass, like I did, and you are a confirmed Catholic, keep in mind that you can only receive Holy Communion once in any twenty four hour time period... however, you can still join the procession for Holy Communion and receive a blessing from the pastor in leu of receiving the Body and Blood by simply crossing your arms across your chest so that your closed fists rest against the opposite shoulder.
Try To Ensure That Everyone Goes To The Toilet Before You Leave Home
We've all had that moment where we've arrived at church and made ourselves comfortable ready for the service... and Junior pipes up, "Mom/Dad, I need to go potty."
It's not a problem, those who are between you and the bathroom don't mind moving out of your way so that you are able to tend to Junior's needs... but we do ask that you try to be patient with us since it takes us a little longer to find a location that we can move to without bumping into someone else or obscuring their access to something else.
Don't Be Afraid To Go And Stand By The Manger If You Want To
There will be a point during the Mass where the priest will invite the congregation to go and sit or stand by the manger and meet baby Jesus as we sing a hymn to Him.
No one will judge you for going forward without having a young child with you because you are following your faith in a way that feels right to you... which I feel is the most important part of being Catholic.
I wanted to do that at Christmas of 2016, but I didn't do so because I had to stand in the shop for the entire duration of Midnight Mass and I was afraid that I would have nowhere to stand if I moved just then. If I'm honest, that was my only regret of that Christmas season.
Take A Tissue With You
If you are prone to random bouts of crying during Mass, take a tissue with you, just in case you have a random attack of the waterworks.
Seeing all the children gathered around the manger for the first time at Christmas 2016 was enough to ensure that I spent the entirety of the hymn attempting to get my emotions under control.
Don't Forget Your Bible
If you attend a smaller church and like to read along with the Bible verses, it's a good idea to take your own Bible along with you because there's a chance that there won't be enough Missalettes and hymn sheets for everyone to have access to one.
Before you attend Mass, simply check what the scriptures that will be read are by clicking the link below, then bookmark them for the appropriate time during Mass. Though the website states that it is for the United States, the scriptures and dates are the same.