Midnight mass will feature bells
In ancient tradition, Christians would announce the birth of Christ with the tolling of bells. In fact, in some communities, churches would compete to be the loudest.
Over the years the tradition seemed to die out, but for members of St. Joseph Catholic Church the custom has become a new way to celebrate the birth of Christ.
"It's a joyous way to announce the birth of the Savior," said Fr. Paul Jarvis.
Attendees of the Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Joseph are encouraged to bring bells to the liturgy. The mass begins at 11 p.m. Dec. 24. The bigger the bells, the better said Jarvis. However, he added that it would be wise to stuff mittens or a cap into the bell during the actual mass.
At the end of the service the group will gather outside at midnight to ring in the birth of Jesus Christ by tolling the bells of the steeple. Attendees will join in by ringing their own bells.
"We're trying to bring back some tried and true traditions," said Jarvis.
Through the tolling of the bells, Jarvis said the attendees share a joyous moment together. Afterward the group will gather back inside the church for treats and drinks. Jarvis said there will likely be some Christmas carols sung as well.
Jarvis said St. Joseph rekindled the old tradition during their Christmas Midnight Mass last year.
"I think it was a surprise for a lot of folks, but people like to celebrate and be festive. I've had folks who didn't come last year tell me they won't miss it this year," said Jarvis.
The Christmas Midnight Mass will be held at 11 p.m. Dec. 24. For those who don't care to stay up that late, there will be Christmas Eve masses held at 4 and 6 p.m. as well. Christmas Day masses will be held at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Jarvis said all masses are open to anyone in the community.