HCM CITY – In the process of being restored, Notre Dame Cathedral, District 1, still welcomes about 1,000 parishioners to attend the Mass to celebrate the birth of Christ, on the night of December 24.
At 8:30 p.m., the Christmas Mass program at Notre Dame Cathedral had just begun, but an hour earlier, parishioners had been present, filling the rows of seats. The hundred-year-old church is being restored for 5 years, but the ceremonies are still taking place normally.
Notre Dame Cathedral is located in the Paris Commune square, built in 1877, completed after 3 years and has been classified as a minor basilica by the Vatican since 1959 (the official name is Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy). Immaculate Conception). Every Christmas, this place is decorated splendidly, attracting many people to visit and go to the ceremony.
After the half-hour Vigil, the Christmas celebration begins at 9 pm. The statue of the Child Jesus was carried through two rows of parishioners to the sanctuary and placed in a manger. Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, performed a ceremony to burn incense to the statue of God.
According to the Bible, the Child Jesus was born lying in a donkey’s manger in Bethlehem in Judea (Jewish, now Palestine). Mary and Saint Joseph (adopted father) were at hand to take care of them. The angels announced that the baby would be the Messiah. Jesus came to earth to start a new history for all mankind, teaching people to love one another.
The Christmas Mass is celebrated with two main parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
In the sanctuary, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang shared God’s word with excerpts of the Bible, sermons, confessions of faith and resounding prayers. The Archbishop also reminded the laity to take care of and care for the poor.
The Archbishop consecrates the bread and wine so that these offerings become the “body” and “blood” of Christ.
In the bible, Jesus once said to the Jews: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever. And the bread that I will give is My flesh, for the world to eat. life… Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life…”.
The Host is then distributed by the celebrant and the soeurs to the parishioners. To receive bread, Catholics must receive Baptism and do penance from mortal sins (confession), have good intentions, fast for an hour before Mass (only drink water) to prepare a soul. clean to welcome the Child Jesus.
When distributing bread, the priest will say “the body of Christ” and the faithful will say “Amen” (Yes! I am convinced that Christ comes to dwell in me under this bread).
The last ritual in the Christmas Mass is the procession of the image of the Child Jesus from the manger and placed on the cave made next to the Basilica.
In the Bible, Jesus was born not in fancy houses but cold caves in the middle of winter. Christians believe that if God was born in a palace, outsiders would not be able to visit, but in a poor cave, everyone can come.
In the infinitely holy night, hymns from the choir resounded in the synagogue. Thousands of parishioners stood together to pray.
Nguyen Thi Thuy Van (white shirt) from District 5 to Notre Dame Cathedral to attend Christmas Mass. “Participating in Mass at the Basilica is very meaningful to parishioners. I am even more happy to hear the words of the Archbishop,” said the 24-year-old girl.
At the end of the holy night, everyone stood up to bless each other and clapped their hands to sing the song “We wish you a merry christmas”.
After the ceremony, many people lingered in the synagogue, waiting to take pictures with the statue of Jesus on the sanctuary. “The first time my family attended the Christmas Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral felt very happy, wanted to have a commemorative photo. I hope everyone is at peace and encounters many blessings as God always desires,” said Mr. Hoang. Gia Tan, 52 years old, Tan Binh district said.
At 10 p.m., outside Notre Dame Cathedral was still crowded with people to have fun.
Notre-Dame Cathedral restoration project with a total investment of more than 140 billion VND, started in 2017, implemented by the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, expected to be completed in 2023. However, Covid-2019 lasted, some Materials must be imported from abroad (Belgium, France, Germany) affecting the construction progress. The removal of the surrounding fence will be carried out after the renovation project is completed in 2027.
On Christmas Eve, the Mass to celebrate the birth of Christ is solemnly celebrated in all churches across the country. This is the busiest holiday of the year for Catholics, along with Easter (celebrating the resurrection of Jesus).
At the Cathedral, Hanoi, the great ceremony takes place from 22:00 to 00:00 in front of the church, to create convenience for residents and visitors to attend. After the rites, the priest distributed the Hosts to the parishioners.
Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)