News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Midnight mass won't be at midnight and travel ban imposed in Italy after rise in Coronavirus cases

by Cara Bentley

The Italian Government has banned people from attending the traditional Christmas Eve midnight mass after nearly 1,000 people died in a day, meaning the service will have to move to earlier in the evening. 

On 3rd December, 993 people died from coronavirus, causing the Government to apply travel restrictions, get tougher on quarantine rules and extend the 10pm curfew into December. 

The restrictions will get stricter between 21st December until 6th January, with travelling between regions banned. Travelling between towns is banned on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. 

The tradition Catholic 'midnight mass' service isn't necessarily at midnight but is often in the late evening, with the Pope holding it at 9pm in recent years and has been called 'Mass during the night'. 

Sandra Zampa, the Junior Health Minister, said those attending the Christmas Eve mass must be home by the 10pm curfew, meaning services should finish about 8:30pm. She also urged people not to invite others round for a meal. 

Writing in an Italian newspaper about the history of Christmas Eve mass, Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, director of journal La Civilta Cattolica, wrote: "the symbolically important fact for the celebration of Christmas night is not the exact hour - whether it is midnight or another time - but the fact that it is celebrated when there is no light, when it's dark out, precisely to make evident the symbolic meaning of the feast," which is the light of Christ coming into the world.

"If one understands the reasoning, one also would understand that if the celebration of Mass during the night takes place when it's dark outside, but before midnight, it certainly won't make Jesus be born early."

Italy has had 57,045 fatalities due to coronavirus since February.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.