Edition Size: 950 S/N Retail “$140” Artist’s Proof 95 SN $195
Image Size: 15 ” X 19 3/4″
The celebration of midnight mass was probably started by the Christians of Jerusalem who held a midnight vigil at Bethlehem, followed by a torchlight procession to Jerusalem. In the year 440 Pope Sixtus III honored the proclamation of Mary’s divine maternity by building the great basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Sixtus III also had built a chapel within which was reproduced the crèche of Bethlehem. Probably inspired by the midnight vigil in Jerusalem, he instituted the practice of Midnight Mass. Midnight mass was the first of the three Christmas masses that celebrated the birth of the Messiah.
My painting of Midnight Mass is based on the Cathedral of Christ the King in Hamilton; the first cathedral worldwide to be dedicated to Christ the King of Kings after the Solemnity of Christ the King was first inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Each year this mass is televised to over five million homes in Canada, the Eastern United States and Bermuda from this beautiful, majestic cathedral.
My own memories of Christmas Eve took place in the east end of Hamilton. I remember the small buffet of cold cuts and rolls with pickles and a baked ham that my mom would put out as our traditional Christmas Eve feast each year. I remember there always being snow on Christmas Eve as we walked from our house to St. Eugene’s church, which as small children seemed to us the size of a cathedral. I remember praying into my hands and then opening them up outside so that God would hear them instead of my innocent, child-prayers being trapped under the rafters. Christmas Eve remains my favorite night of the year. Whatever your own traditions and beliefs, I hope that you cherish this time of year to spend with family and friends to create your own Christmas memories.