The annual Christmas Eve Mass, also known as the Nativity of the Lord Vigil Mass, was broadcast online on Dec. 24. The mass took place in Clougherty Chapel. Fr. Gregory M. Goethals, SJ, ’73, presided. For the first time in Loyola history, this annual mass was pre-recorded.
Vice President for Mission Dr. Ann Holmquist spoke prior to the mass, explaining the unique platform for the mass and the program for the evening. The celebration, typically an alumni event, expanded to include current families, faculty, staff, and friends and colleagues from Verbum Dei High School.
Goethals said, “Due to COVID-19 restrictions and also due to the number of people who always want to come to our Christmas Eve Mass, we had to record it so that we could have as many people as wanted to attend and be there online.”
An alumnus offered the first reading, a current student offered the second reading and parents of current students and alumni offered the prayers of the faithful.
Goethals said, “Despite the limitations placed on our mass this year, our numbers were very good this year, and our geographic reach was much greater than it usually is.”
Safety precautions were in place while filming the mass. Only Goethals and three other individuals were present in the chapel, and Goethals wore a mask, removing it only when he was a safe distance away from any of the other people.
Goethals said, “I had not done our Christmas Eve Mass for a few years, and it was such a privilege to lead our community in prayer on such a Holy Night! We have such an outstanding community of faith here at Loyola, and to pray together is what makes it so.”
The music for the mass was provided by students and alumni who recorded their voices and sent in their recordings to be edited together, giving the mass the effect a live choir.
Director of Campus Ministry Matt Schaeffer said, “We had singers and musicians from a number of different years submit recordings in order to form a ‘Virtual Choir.’” The recordings of the music are posted on the Loyola High School webpage. Click here to be directed to that site and enjoy the music.
The songs were evenly put together from alumni recordings, current students’ recordings and a combination of the alumni and current students. Responses for the mass were also said by faculty members on Zoom during filming.
Goethals said, “We emphasized the full community’s participation instead of just reaching out to our alumni (who were, of course, all very welcome) so it was a great opportunity for Loyola to serve our broader community by having it on-line.”
During the song “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” and after mass, compilations of Loyola family Christmas cards were shown. During the Loyola classic song “These Alone Are Enough,” a compilation of photos taken by Fr. Quinn’s digital photography class was shown as well. The photos shown offered nostalgia and reminded the Loyola community of the campus they have missed for many months.
To view the recording of the mass, click here and you will be directed to the event on the Loyola High School webpage.