Midnight at the Mountain

It’s actually just thirty minutes past midnight and Midnight Mass ended nearly two hours ago, but Christmas Eve Mass has always been a highlight for me even in the many years when I didn’t attend Mass regularly. It’s a mystical time and full of wonder. What was it like in the countryside over two-thousand years ago? Tonight the sky was clear. Stars, planets and occasional aircraft filled the beautiful night sky with a beautiful tapestry of twinkling light. I was running a little late due to complicating circumstances, but as I parked the car and spied the lights burning brightly in Holy Peace my heart was joyful as I walked the path. I entered this chapel in the middle of the Allegany County woodlands at least five miles from the nearest village. Yet, the chapel was teeming with folks who had driven some distance to be here tonight to celebrate this holiest of nights in the Christian year. Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.
Pictured above is Fr. Daniel Riley, OFM who was the celebrant at tonight’s mass at the Franciscan Retreat Center at Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, New York.

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2 Replies to “Midnight at the Mountain”

  1. Thanks for a beautiful and moving description of christmas mass in the country. I love the mountain, its 5am here in NYC and I could not sleep after our midnight mass at St Francis on 31street which was also a moving experience. I am a friar in formation currently on my internship year here at St Francis. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Mount Iranaeus. Have a joyful and blessed day, your blog is great and I look forward to reading more about your journey
    peace and all that is good
    Paul Keenan, ofm

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