Q. 1. I have not stepped into a Catholic Church for 10 years. This year, I intend on going to the Christmas Midnight Mass. After Mass, my family and I intend on celebrating. I need to know what time I will be home after Mass so I can tell my family members at what time to come to my place. Can you tell me how long does the Midnight Mass last?
A. 1. As a general rule, the Sunday Mass lasts as long as the Sunday Mass. At most Catholic Churches in North America, that means 1 hour. There are a couple factors that can affect the duration of the Holy Mass.
The first factor, it depends on how many members of the Church will be receiving Holy Communion. If it is a large number and the priest is the only one administering the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Mass will last a few extra minutes, give or take 10 minutes. I doubt that the duration of the Christmas Mass will be any different than the Sunday Masses.
The second factor, it depends if the parish has a regular priest, a replacement, or a priest who is on loan from another Diocese, in another country. If it is the regular parish priest, the duration of the Christmas Mass should be no different than the duration of the Sunday Masses. If the priest is a replacement, his zeal for preaching not being known, the Midnight Mass may last slightly longer than one hour. Considering that North America now has hundreds of priests from Africa and India, it has been said that some of these priests have a great zeal to preach and they are shocked to hear that Catholics in North America insist on short homilies, maximum 15 minutes. A new priest from Africa, not being aware of the North American attitude towards hearing the Word of God, may easily preach for 45 minutes. This means that the Christmas Midnight Mass could last one and a half hour.