Different Christmas Eve Masses and Times
Including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there are four Masses that kick off the Christmas season in the Church:
- The Vigil Mass
- Mass During the Night (unofficially called “Midnight Mass”)
- Mass at Dawn (sometimes called “Shepherd’s Mass”)
- Mass During the Day
Attending just one of these Masses satisfies the obligation to attend Mass on Christmas (yes–Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation!) Each Mass has different readings.
The Mass During the Night (“Midnight Mass”) traditionally has taken place at midnight, and many Catholics have memories of the custom of attending the liturgy at this time. However, the Mass can take place at different times.
Pope Benedict moved the Mass time to 10 p.m., while Pope Francis has held it at 9:30 p.m. He even moved the Mass to 7:30 p.m. during the pandemic so attendees could return home before the local curfew.