By Ashley Wislock
The Danville News
SELINSGROVE — Parishioners at one Snyder County church are gearing up to ring in Christmas as the bells of the church strike midnight for the first time in several years.
The Rev. Dan Powell of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Selinsgrove used to celebrate midnight mass at a previous parish in Harrisburg and decided to bring the tradition to his new church, which he arrived at in June.
“I always found it to be very peaceful and serene and you really got a sense of what it would be like to be with Mary, Joseph and Jesus on a quiet night after (Jesus) has just been born,” he said.
Midnight mass is a tradition for many Catholic families, Powell said.
“I went to midnight mass often with my family and so I thought it would be good to have,” he said. “It’s something we’ll see if Pius X is interested in.”
The late-night celebration begins at 11:30 p.m. with Christmas carols being sung by the church choir. The one-hour mass begins at midnight, Powell said.
“I’ll admit it, you do get a little tired when it starts, but there’s just such a calm about it ... It’s a special time.”
Other area Catholic churches also host midnight mass for their parishioners, with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milton hosting more than a hundred people for its 11 p.m. service on average, said office staffer Irene Hamilton.
For those who want to catch an earlier service, Pius X has two other Christmas Eve services planned, including a 4 p.m. children’s mass, Powell said.
Powell plans to continue the tradition of handing out presents to the church’s children, while starting a new tradition of his own, which includes creating a special messages for the young people in attendance.
“I like to talk directly to (the children),” he said.