Midnight Mass

The celebration of Midnight Mass at Christmas can be traced back to at least the middle of the fourth century, when Christians in the Holy Land would hold a midnight vigil in Bethlehem followed by a candlelight procession to Jerusalem.

In 440, the custom was embraced by Pope St. Sixtus III who erected a small chapel with a manger at the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome and celebrated a Christmas midnight Mass, a custom he continued throughout his papacy.

Over time, it became tradition for popes to celebrate three Masses at Christmas: midnight Mass, Mass at dawn, and then Mass on Christmas morning. That tradition spread throughout the world in the 11th century, with different readings at each Mass. Today, four Masses are offered at Christmas: the vigil, Mass at night, Mass at dawn, and Mass during the day. 

Midnight Masses in the Diocese of Portland

Auburn -Sacred Heart Church, 8 Sacred Heart Place

Biddeford - St. Joseph Church, 178 Elm Street

Frenchville - Christian Life Center, 444 U.S. Route One (Starts at 11:55 p.m.)

Houlton - St. Mary of the Visitation Church, 110 Military Street

Old Town - Holy Family Church, 429 Main Street

Portland - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street - Celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley

Rumford - St. Athanasius & St. John Church, 126 Maine Avenue

Scarborough - St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, 150 Black Point Road

Yarmouth - Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main Street