Kieran and cousin Alex at church on Christmas Eve
The massive church was positively packed with people, and lots of children. The service was filled with beautiful English carols--such as O Little Town of Bethlehem and Away in a Manger in the English melodies, which I much prefer over our American ones. The service was full of "smells and bells," as they say in the Catholic tradition. I loved the beautiful incense and the rituals, although was less than thrilled (but not surprised) by the statement in the bulletin expressly telling people who were not members of "the Church" that they were welcome to come up for a blessing (instead of communion). My Anglican sister-in-law and I agreed that we all share the "same God," and decided that said God would forgive us for partaking in the Catholic communion.
I definitely missed the candlelight--having grown up in the Lutheran tradition, where Christmas Eve means candlelight services and "Silent Night" sung to a church filled with candlelight. However, it was a beautiful, if very traditional, service.
Travelogue to be continued...