Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
On Christmas Eve, at 2:30 pm, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, arrives at Manger Square and make his solemn entry into the Basilica of the Nativity. There will be lots of excitement throughout the afternoon and evening in anticipation of the festive Midnight Mass that will take place in St. Catherine’s Church (the Catholic part of the Basilica).
Tickets to actual mass in the church are limited but if you are lucky you can try to get one by contacting the Christian Information Centre, +972-(0)2-627-2697 or [email protected].
Benedictine Monastery, Abu Ghosh
There is no question that the 12th century Crusader church in Abu Ghosh with its beautiful ancient frescos complimented by the Gregorian chant in French and in Latin is a real highlight. The acoustics are amazing and the songs of the brothers create a spiritual high unlike no other. There are 200 seats so reservations are recommended. .
Shepherds Fields, Beit Sahour
We highlight recommend marking Christmas Eve at Shepherd’s Field in Beit Sahour is highly This site is believed to be the place where, according to the Gospel of Luke (2:8-15), the angel appeared to the shepherds and announced to them the birth of the Savior in the City of David. Holy Masses will be celebrated there in all languages throughout the night, in the various grottoes and chapels lying under the same open sky from which the angel appeared to the shepherds more than 2,000 years ago.
Dormition Abbey, Mount Zion
Dormition Abbey, rising majestically on Mount Zion on the southwestern corner of the Old City. The fact that the Midnight Mass there is always packed with curious Israelis is particularly remarkable considering the fact that the liturgy is almost entirely celebrated in German. The Benedictine Monks have gotten so used to their faithful Israeli visitors that they now integrate into the evening a good number of explanations in Hebrew for them.
St. Stephen’s Basilica for French Speakers
In the Old City, near Damascus Gate, St. Stephen’s Basilica (on the premises of the École Biblique) is the destination for French Speakers. Here, Christmas Eve Mass is anticipated at 9:30 pm, celebrated with great dignity and beauty by the French Dominicans.
Christ Church for Protestants
For Protestants, the Christ Church, just inside the Old City , is the spot where visitors can look forward to warm hospitality beginning already at 6 pm in the courtyard with coffee, refreshments and biscuits, along with some carol singing and time for fellowship and discussion. This will last until the Christmas service at 10:30 in the church, expected to last until well after midnight.
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, Jerusalem
This 19th century Catholic guesthouse is run by the Legionaries of Christ and is siuated directly across from the Old City walls at 3 HaTsanhanim Street in Jerusalem. . In the auditorium, carols will begin at 11:30pm and Mass (in English) at midnight. It is recommended to arrive half an hour early. Further information: +972-(0)2-627-9111.
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem
This is part of the Evangelical Church in Germany in the Holy Land. We recommend you go to the church as far in advance as possible to obtain free tickets for midnight Mass.
Beit Jamal Monastery, Beit Shemesh
The Sisters of Bethlehem pray during midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the Beit Jamal Monastery in Beit Shemesh. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Beit Jimal is a Catholic monastery run by Salesian monks near Beit Shemesh, Israel. The siteis identified with the with the Byzantine town of Caphargamala, and believe that a cave there may have been the tomb of St. Stephen. The two-hour midnight Mass at 11.pm
Latrun Trappist Monastery, Ramla
The Trappist monks are an order of monks who originated in France and they believe that “the spoken word” is holy and and only speak in prayer.. They have taken oaths of silence. Midnight Mass in French will be held at the Latrun Trappist Monastery, near the Israel Defense Forces History Museum. The sandstone monastery complex features elegant archways, cathedral-style windows and flower gardens. Further information: +972-(0)8-922-0065.