By Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald
When Josephite Father Peter Weiss, the pastor of All Saints Parish in Algiers, was approached by a parishioner during Advent in 2017, he thought her idea was intriguing.
Why not celebrate a simple, musically toned down Mass on Christmas Day for those individuals who might be feeling especially gloomy because of a recent loss, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a health crisis or a job loss?
“She had come across a ‘Blue’ Mass in her travels, and she suggested that we could do the same thing,” said Father Weiss, who first celebrated the Mass for about 10 people in 2017 and then for about 25 in 2018.
“During the Christmas season, when everyone is singing ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,’ some people just aren’t there because they just buried their mother or lost a job or got cancer,” Father Weiss said. “Sometimes they’re not in a very joyful mood to sing, so it might be better to sing ‘Silent Night’ or ‘Away in a Manger.’ It’s a low-key Mass for those who want to celebrate the Lord without the trumpets.”
Father Weiss said very often parishioners don’t express in words the struggles they are feeling but tend to keep them inside. He said the Mass is intended to offer spiritual solace during a particularly hard time in someone’s life.
“We don’t ask anyone to stand up or do anything,” Father Weiss said. “They might come up to us later and talk about it. Last year, someone came up and told me they had just buried someone dear to them in their family, and they just needed to be able to celebrate Christmas.”
The Blue Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 25. The parish also has a Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. and the regular parish Sunday Christmas Mass at 9 a.m.
Father Weiss said anyone is invited to attend, not just parishioners.
“It’s for anybody and everybody,” he said. “Those who have attended said it has really helped them. I Googled this when I heard about it. There are a few services like this among Protestant churches but not too many within the Catholic tradition.”
All Saints Church is located on the West Bank at 1441 Teche St. For more information, call the parish office at 361-8835.
Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.