Christmas Eve Proclamation (Para-Liturgy) – Fr. Kevin McHugh

Christmas Eve  Proclamation  (Para-Liturgy) Fr. Kevin McHugh

(St.Columban’s,  Dalgan Park, Navan. C15 Ay2y Co. Meath. Ireland. 

Fr. Kevin McHugh, Columban Missionary has recently retired to Dalgan Park after 59 years of pastoral ministry in the Philippines.  After almost 40 years working in the Southern Philippines, he was assigned to Manila where he served in a parish that is staffed by Columbans since 1929  and has always had a keen interest in finding ways to make liturgical celebrations more participative and prayerful. He has prepared the following para-liturgy for Intercom readers. 

Guidelines  for the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ    @ 11:45 p.m.  – Year 202 _                  To be celebrated / staged in Church 


Two Bookstands – with hidden Electric lamps, suitably draped and facing the assembly – are already in place in the Sanctuary about 2  meters from the edge of the sanctuary.  Two open folders containing the Proclamation  plus   hand-held Mics are ready for immediate use on the Bookstands.  

The COMMENTATOR (CM) informs the assembly that most of the lights will be put OFF in order that the Church will be in semi-darkness. 


The Ministers – 2 Proclaimers (L & R), 2 young adults with lighted candles –  an Acolyte with a bell – assemble at the Front Door. When they are ready the CM says to the Assembly:  Please stand and face the Nave. 

The Acolyte goes first, walking at a moderate pace. 

He rings his bell opposite the 1st door  –  once 

”       “ ”         2nd  ”    –   twice 

At the base of the Sanctuary he rings    –  three times 

He ascends the Sanctuary, stands on the top step and faces the Assembly.  

The Candle bearers  follow, keeping about 3 meters behind. When they reach the bottom of Sanctuary they bow to Altar, to each other, and take up positions at Right and Left of the Bookstands.  They assist the Proclaimers with their light –  if needed.  

The Proclaimers follow the Candle bearers, keeping about 2 meters behind. When they reach the bottom of the Sanctuary they bow to Altar, towards each other and then take up assigned positions. 

The Proclamation 

The CM reads the introduction and the Proclaimers begin.  Their voices should be slow and measured.  They recount the history of Salvation from the beginning of the Universe until the Birth of Jesus. It is good news, joyful news, news that people on earth had been awaiting for thousands of years.  A pause of 2/3 seconds should follow each statement. They pause after each Section to allow the Acolyte the opportunity to ring the Bell.  [Once after the first section; twice after the 2nd; three times after the 3rd].  

When the Proclaimers have read the words, THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST according to the flesh, he rings it vigorously 7 times.  

Bell Ringer now bows to the Altar and proceeds directly to the Sacristy.   

The Candle Bearers do the same; Altar first, then to each other and then proceed to the Sacristy. 

The Proclaimers bow to the Altar, then to each other, and follow the others to the Sacristy. 


     CM _________________________ACOLYTE with bell ______________________ 


     CANDLE BEARER L ___________________           CANDLE BEARER R ______________________ 


     PROCLAIMER L ______________________ PROCLAIMER R ________________________ 




[The Proclaimers – when they reach the steps leading to the Sanctuary – bow to the Altar, towards each other, and take up assigned positions] 


Throughout the Season of Advent, the Church reflected on God’s promises to  

send a Savior to the people of Israel. He would be called Immanuel, that is,  

God-with-us. In the fullness of time these promises were fulfilled. (pause) 

With joyful hearts let us listen to the PROCLAMATION of the Savior’s birth. 

L&R  The twenty-fifth of December. 

L In the fourteen billionth year since God created energy which eventually became atoms, stars and galaxies… 

R In the eight billionth year since God created stars in our Galaxy, the Milky Way, the whole range of elements in the Supernova… 

L In the five billionth year since God allowed a Star to go ‘Supernova’, leading to the birth of our Sun with its planetary system which included Earth and the Moon. 

R In the four point five billionth year since God caused Earth to bring forth single cells of life, teeming in the oceans…. 

L In the six hundred millionth year since God brought forth multicellular life in its myriad forms; sponges, worms, invertebrates, and later –vertebrates, reptiles, mammals, primates….                     [pause} 

R In the two hundred thousandth year since modern humans emerged from the animal kingdom as hunter-gatherers… 

L In the eight thousandth year since humans learned to plant seeds… and breed animals… 

R In the three thousandth year since the Great Civilizations appeared…                               



L In the two thousandth year since God called Abraham, our father in faith, to leave the cradle of civilization of Ur of the Chaldees… 

R In the one thousand two hundredth year since God brought his People out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses…… 

L In the one thousandth year since God permitted the people to have David as their King… 

 R In the six hundredth year since God allowed the kingship to be destroyed and his people were exiled for betraying the Covenant… 

 L In the two hundredth year since the Land of Judea and Galilee came under the yoke of Roman Rule…  



 R “In the forty second year of his reign, Augustus Caesar issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world.…” 

 L “Joseph set out from Nazareth to Bethlehem…. to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child…….” 

 R In a lowly manger…  in the company of animals and shepherds…  Mary bore her Son, Jesus…  Immanuel…  God is with us. 

 L & R    THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST according to the flesh. 


                      [The Proclaimers bow to the Altar, then to each other, 

                      and follow the other ministers directly to the Sacristy. 

                     The lights are switched ON and Midnight Mass follows] 


 An alternative Final Section incorporates the Version found in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland. While this version relates the event of Jesus’ birth it is not as dramatic as the one outlined above.  

 R In the 42nd year of the rule of Caesar Augustus;                                                                                             while the whole world was at peace… 

 L Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most gracious coming…. 

 R Having been conceived of the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed after his conception….. 

 L Is born as man in Bethlehem of Judah from the Virgin Mary.    

 L & R    THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST according to the flesh