Christmas Eve at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Austin
On Christmas Eve, the parishioners bring their statues of the Baby Jesus to Mass to be blessed. In Mexico, there is a beautiful tradition of placing the blessed Baby Jesus in the manger scene in each home on Christmas Eve, with prayer and song.
We invite parishioners to bring their Baby Jesus to Christmas Eve Mass to be blessed. The priest invites everyone who has brought their Baby Jesus to bring him forward for the blessing. The priest removes his chasuble after the homily. He puts on a “reboso”, or shawl, and takes the Baby Jesus in his arms. The entire congregation together with the priest sings a popular Mexican Christmas lullaby, “Allaru Chiquito”. Afterward the priest places the Christ Child in the Church manger scene and incenses the scene. The priest then takes Holy Water and goes throughout the Church blessing all the Baby Jesus statues.
This tradition has attracted so many people that a separate Christmas Eve Mass is now held simultaneously in the church cafeteria, where another priest is doing the same thing with the overflowing crowd of faithful worshipers.
After the blessing, the priest puts on his chasuble and continues Christmas Vigil Mass. After Mass the people take their Baby Jesus to their homes, and out into the world.
The “work” of Christmas Eve is adoration of the Child Jesus by the faithful, opening our hearts to love him.