Archives: December 2021

Come Home for Christmas  

Experience The Basilica anew this Christmas. 

The historic Church will be beautifully decorated with evergreen trees and poinsettias. The music, liturgy, and community create a special Christmas experience for all. 

We strongly encourage you to wear a mask to Mass to protect children and those with health concerns. 


Christmas Vigil  
Friday, December 24
2:00pm Eucharist* (livestream)                   organ, cantor, Cathedral Choristers, Children’s Choir and Cherubs
5:00pm Eucharist (livestream)                    Mundus & Juventus, music from around the world      
7:30pm Eucharist                                        piano, cantor, flute, cello
10:30pm Prelude for Christmas                  organ, harp, flute
11:00pm Choral Music                                choir, organ, harp, flute
11:30pm Vigil of Lights                              organ, cathedral choir
Midnight Solemn Eucharist* (livestream)   organ, choir, brass, harp  
Christmas Day
Saturday, December 25
7:30am Eucharist at Dawn                        organ, cantor, violin, soprano soloist
9:30am Solemn Eucharist (livestream)*    organ, choir, brass, strings
Celebrant: Archbishop Bernard Hebda (Outdoor Communion offered. See details below. )
11:30am Solemn Eucharist                      organ, choir, brass, strings
5:00pm Eucharist                                     music from around the world
The Feast of the Holy Family
Sunday, December 26
7:30am Eucharist 
9:30am Solemn Eucharist* (livestream)
11:30am Solemn Eucharist
5:00pm Eucharist 
*ASL Interpreted

Livestream link or at


Health and Safety: Welcoming you back to The Basilica with these health and safety steps.

On Christmas Day, we invite those who have participated in the 9:30am Mass via livestream to come to The Basilica to receive Communion. Drive up to the rectory on 17th Street to receive Communion while you remain in your car. We will distribute communion from approximately 10:30 to 11:00am.


Last month the Bishops of the United States approved a document on the Eucharist entitled: “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.” The document is divided into two sections: “Christ’s gift of Himself in the Eucharist and our response to that gift.” The debate over the document was not without controversy, particularly around the issue of who is eligible to receive communion. In the end, however, the bishops decided (wisely) not to wade into those waters.

I very much liked the title of the document. In my initial reading of it, I was struck in particular by two sentences: “Having been sanctified by the gift of the Eucharist and filled with faith, hope, and charity, the faithful are called to respond to this gift. Indeed, it is only natural that we give thanks to the Lord for all that He has given to us.” I think the recognition of the Eucharist as a gift is not just significant, but of ultimate importance.

As Catholics, we believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist. Not present just in memory, not present just symbolically, and not present just spiritually, but really and truly present. How this can be we don’t know. That it can be is our abiding belief. It is an act of faith. And faith as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews is: “Confident assurance of what we hope for; conviction about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11.1) In the Eucharist we receive the Body of Christ so that we might be and bring the Body of Christ to the world.

The Eucharist is truly Christ’s gift of Himself to us. And as we all know - or should know - we don’t earn gifts; we don’t merit them. We can only accept them graciously and with gratitude. Perhaps most importantly, though, we should never judge another person’s worthiness to receive a gift. Specifically regarding the Eucharist we need to remember that Christ is the host of the table. We are all guests. At best, priests are just part of the wait staff, and as John Whitney, a Jesuit priest in Seattle, wrote back in June: “The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come.”

Now, I want to be clear. I am not suggesting that priests should invite anyone and everyone to receive communion. I am suggesting that priests (and others) should not make judgements about the worthiness of those who present themselves for communion. As a wise priest told me many years ago: “You don’t know what has happened in someone’s life in the past five minutes. It is not up to you to judge someone’s worthiness to receive communion.”

 A few weeks ago a friend sent me a copy of an essay from The New York Times written by Michael O’Loughlin, a correspondent for a Catholic news organization and a gay man. Two sentences in the essay were very important for me: “With the U.S. bishops meeting in Baltimore this week, following months of debate about the worthiness of some Catholics to receive Communion, I’ve realized that personally, I stay in the church mostly for the Eucharist, that ritual during Mass when I believe the divine transcends our ordinary lives and God is present. I haven’t found that elsewhere.”

While there are many things I disagree with about our Church, the Eucharist holds me bound. I can’t imagine my life without it. I can’t find it anywhere else. And so on the great Feast of Christmas, let us be mindful of the gift of the Eucharist. And let us pray that we might accept this gift with great humility and deep gratitude that Christ has chosen to share Himself with us in this wonderful sacrament.