Pope Francis celebrated Christmas night mass in the gigantic St. Peter’s Basilica in the presence of less than 200 worshipers wearing protective masks, mostly Vatican employees. With the health crisis, churches have had to adapt for Christmas masses. “Last night, the masses were multiplied by two or three”, explained Friday December 25 on franceinfo Mgr Matthieu Rougé, bishop of Nanterre.
franceinfo: How did you go about preserving the Christmas spirit?
We had two Masses in a row to welcome as many faithful as possible. In any place it is possible to welcome the joy ofIT’Sgospel and this is what we experienced yesterday in Levallois. This is what all those who have attended masses in their churches or outside have experienced. The important thing is to be able to celebrate Christmas.
“It is for us an intense happiness as Christians to have been able to celebrate Christmas really and not by interposed screen.”
Bishop Matthieu Rougé, Bishop of Nanterre
The joy of having been able to celebrate Christmas is immense.
Is it difficult to celebrate Masses under these conditions?
It is a real headache, it was necessary for the Church as for the rest of society to adapt to this unprecedented situation. I am amazed at the creativity, the know-how, the energy of the priests, of the parish teams. That night, the Masses were doubled or tripled to be able to welcome all those who wanted to fill up with hope and joy by celebrating Christmas.
Do you understand the bitterness of certain cultural professionals who must remain closed?
Worship and culture are alike and I hope that soon enough we can find beautiful exhibitions, beautiful concerts. As long as the adjusted sanitary instructions can be respected, I hope that this can evolve quickly enough.
What do you want for 2021?
During the first confinement, there was a really unbearable isolation of the elderly. We were somewhat prevented from accompanying the dying, the deceased and their families. We understood that we had to move forward on this, that beyond the health crisis, our societies must be more fraternal. This health crisis has shown that our major economic and technological constructions are vulnerable. It is important to also think about the essential that is our heart. The priority is to resist fear.