Now that I am somewhat caught up on sleep, but could still use some more, I thought I would pass along a short report on Midnight Mass from New Year's Eve.
After the usual daily 5:15 Mass at the Cathedral (approx 175 in attendance), the daily chapel was right full for the start of adoration (60+). As I left the sanctuary, someone stopped to ask if I could hear his confession, which I was glad to do. I went back to the sacristy and took off the cope and alb, and threw on my surplice (over the cassock, of course!) and came back out to hear confessions. (I had a feeling that if I started, it could go a while.) After a little more than an hour in the box, I emerged to find a crowd of about 25 still there praying.
As the evening continued, the crowd dwindled to a low of one or two around 9:30, 10:00, but soon started to grow again to 49 for Mass at Midnight, which is almost the breaking point to have to move back out into the main church (a goal for next year?) Three guys came from the seminary to help serve (Their Director of Vocations forgot to send an email to ask more to come, D'OH!), and they are all good singers, so we did everything sans accompaniment. I did the plain chants for the Presidential Prayers, and the chant for the Preface leading to the Sanctus simple chant in Latin (Oh, to know the Missa de Angelis well enough to lead it!) and the Roman Canon, with the insert for Christmas, and all the saints mentioned. (Why some priests drop the names, I'll never know.)
Even with a long (for me) homily, we were done in 45 minutes. It was a wonderful tribute to our Blessed Mother (and Mother of priests), and a chance to start the New Year on the right foot.
As a side note, I am hearing more and more of places having a midnight Mass on New Year's, or at least of having Adoration with Benediction at the stroke of the New Year. What a great way to transition from one year to the next.