Staying up late to attend a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass might be an entirely new experience or the continuation of an old family tradition. For some Midnight Mass is a reminder of the real message of Christmas, for others it is a time of coming home and joining with two, three or four generations of family members in celebrating the joys of Christmas.
San Francisco is particularly well suited for the joys of Christmas. The City has many beautiful churches and cathedrals. Here are four historic churches that have a special and memorable Christmas Eve Midnight Mass:
St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral: 1111 Gough Street (at Geary), San Francisco. This famous cathedral is recognized worldwide as a modern masterpiece of engineering and architecture. The building was completed in 1970 and is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Enjoy the Caroling Concert with the Cathedral Choir at 11:30 PM followed by the Midnight Mass with Archbishop Cordileone, Celebrant. Remember, this is San Francisco's most famous church, so it will be crowded!
St. Ignatius Church: 650 Parker Avenue (at Fulton), San Francisco. Another extremely popular and beautiful San Francisco church is this 100+ year-old landmark "with towering outlines visible from all parts of the City." The church is located on the campus of the University of San Francisco. The Christmas Eve Solemn Mass with the St. Ignatius Combined Choirs begins at 12:00 PM Midnight, Father Gregory Bonfiglio, S.J., Presider.
St. Dominic Catholic Church: 2390 Bush Street (at Steiner), San Francisco. This beautiful church - said to be "truly ... a sermon is stone" is built in the Gothic style and is situated next to San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood. The Christmas Eve Carol Service begins at 11:15 PM followed by Midnight Mass - a Solemn Mass with choral music, strings and brass.
Grace Cathedral: 1100 California Street, San Francisco. This Episcopal Cathedral Church is located on a City block on the south shoulder of Nob Hill. The joy of Christmas is celebrated with a festive Choral Eucharist, with music by by Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys and orchestra, congregational carol singing, a sermon and Holy Communion. Prelude music begins at 10:30 PM and the service begins at 11:00 PM.
Have a very Merry Christmas!