Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez will celebrate Christmas with Mass on Christmas Eve -- Tuesday Dec. 24 -- at 4:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. The cathedral is located at East Ninth Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The annual choral concert will take place at 9:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve, followed by Mass at 10 p.m. The celebrant will be the Rev. Sean Ralph, cathedral rector.
Masses at the cathedral on Christmas Day will be celebrated at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. See the cathedral website for more information, saintjohncathedral.com.
Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter. It is the feast of the incarnation -- the feast of God becoming flesh. It is a uniquely Christian teaching, the divine choosing to become one of us.
The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the feast of the baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him -- including the fact that he was born to die for us.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father's gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.