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Blessing of the fire and preparation of the candle

The procession

Suggested Exsultet settings

Responsorial psalm after the first reading (see also music overview for Holy Week and Easter)

Responsorial psalm after the second reading

Responsorial psalm after the third reading

Responsorial psalm after the fourth reading

Responsorial psalm after the fifth reading

Responsorial psalm after the sixth reading

Responsorial psalm after the seventh reading

Responsorial psalm (with verses of the day)

Rite of the blessing and sprinkling of water

Procession of the gifts

Communion

Thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Sending forth

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Holy Week and Easter)

Gospel acclamation

Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Christ became obedient for us even to death, dying on the cross.
Therefore God raised him on high and gave him a name above all other names.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

Veneration of the cross 1 (during the procession with the cross)

Veneration of the cross 2

The reproaches

Communion

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Holy Week and Easter)

Gospel acclamation (see also CWBII)

John13:34

Praise and honour to you, Lord, Jesus, Christ!
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

Washing of the feet

Procession of the gifts/offertory

Communion

Transfer of the Eucharist

The watch

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Lent)

Gospel acclamation (see CWBII 54–61)

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory!
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory!

Distribution of ashes

Procession of the gifts/offertory

Communion

Thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Sending forth

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Christmas Time)

Gospel acclamation

Alleluia, Alleluia!
A hallowed day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, worship the Lord,
for today a great light has shone down upon the earth.
Alleluia!

Communion

Sending forth or thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Christmas Time)

Gospel acclamation

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Glory to God in the highest,
peace to his people on earth.
Alleluia!

Procession of the gifts/offertory

Communion

Sending forth or thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Christmas Time)

Gospel acclamation

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Good news and great joy to all the world:
Today is born our Saviour, Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

Procession of the gifts/offertory

Communion

Sending forth or thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also music overview for Christmas Time)

Gospel acclamation

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed:
the Saviour of the world will be our king.
Alleluia!

Procession of the gifts/offertory

Communion

Sending forth or thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

[Here we use the gospel reading for Midnight Mass.]

Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census—the first—took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s house and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn. In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’

(Luke 2:1–14)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore 

Exploring the Word

Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus is very different from Matthew’s, and this serves to remind us that we must read these as religious rather than historical stories. Luke goes to great lengths to situate Jesus in human history. He is born in a specific time and place. It shows how God works through human beings, human agencies and human institutions. No one could be further removed from Mary and Joseph than the Emperor of Rome, but it is through Augustus’ edict that the words of the prophets of Israel are fulfilled. Nevertheless, this astonishing news ‘of great joy’ is not given to the powerful but to the poor. 

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer 

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ 

Christmas Day is the climax of the second great season of the Church’s year (Advent/Christmas), but the season of Christmastide continues for several more weeks as aspects of this child are revealed. Christmas Day celebrates the mystery of the incarnation, which means that, in Jesus, God took human flesh, lived a human life and was fully one of us. As humans we cannot, of course, see God, but through Jesus, we see God’s plans for us fully revealed. St Augustine, a great thinker of the early Church, put it this way:

How much you have loved us, O God.
If your word had not become flesh 
and had not dwelt among us,
we would have had to believe 
that there was no connection
between God and humanity
and we would have been in despair.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment 

Entrance

Responsorial psalm (see also the music recommendations tab)

Gospel acclamation 

Matthew 5:3

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Happy the poor in spirit;
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Alleluia!

Procession of the gifts/offertory 

Communion

Thanksgiving hymn/song/canticle (optional, sung by all)

Sending forth

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