Cardinal O'Malley celebrates New Years Eve midnight Mass at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
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BOSTON -- It was 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and although there were hundreds of people inside St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Boston, all was relatively quiet. A minute passed, and while elsewhere people cheered, kissed and blew horns, still the church was quiet, with only the soft prayers of priests audible as those gathered prepared to receive the Eucharist.
For Claire Keating, a recent Assumption College graduate, the Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was a peaceful, faith-filled experience.
"There's something that's a lot more powerful in going to Mass and adoration as opposed to watching the ball drop," she said at a reception following the service.
It was her first time taking part in a New Year's Eve Mass and, in fact, her first time taking part in a midnight Mass at all. She's a "morning person," she said, but the service "was worth it."
The Mass started at around 11:15 p.m., after a period of music, adoration and the praying of the rosary. It finished just after midnight, both closing out the old and opening the new with the Lord.
Wishing those gathered a happy New Year, in his homily Cardinal O'Malley said those at the Mass were like the shepherds who followed the Star of Bethlehem to Jesus in the manger.
"We come to find the Holy Family, and to be part of it," the cardinal said.
"Like the shepherds, we need to be heralds of the light; we need to tell the good news by our words, but also by our actions," he added.
The Gospel shows that evangelization begins with contemplation, he said, and the pondering of the word of God in our own hearts.
"New Year's is always about making a new beginning, about New Years' resolutions. If we are going to listen to the message and make it our own and share it with others, we need time and space for prayer in our lives," he said. "May the New Year find us more prayer, more forgiving, more capable of sacrifice, more courageous, more joyful, more prepared to embrace our mission and share our message, more amazed by how much God loves us."
A reception was held in the church hall following the Mass, inviting those gathered to coffee and food.
Rick Nickle, his wife Annamaria Nickle, and their daughter, Anne-Claire, knelt in front of the altar, hands clasped in prayer, before making their way down to the church hall.
Speaking to The Pilot, Rick Nickle said he and his family have attended the New Year's Eve Mass for the past few years. About 14 years ago, he and his wife lived in Boston close to the church, and while they live in Shrewsbury now, they still like to make the trip to Boston to celebrate the New Year.
"It's kind of a tradition for us to come here every year," he said, standing next to his wife and daughter. "We really enjoy it."