For several decades, second grade students at St. John Fisher School have participated in the Ara Coeli Mass, the 6:00pm Mass on Christmas Eve. This Mass is named for an ancient church and shrine of the Blessed Virgin on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. On Christmas Eve, guests at Santa Maria of Ara Coeli climb one hundred twenty-four candle-lined steps and enter the church. At midnight, an olive wood statue of Baby Jesus covered in jewels is paraded from his private chapel to a ceremonial throne and finally to a a Nativity Crib. Then the children of Rome approach the pulpit and offer prayers, recite poems, or make requests before the Santo Bambino.
I this tradition, the second grade parish school students memorize the readings and proclaim the Word of God during the Christmas Eve Mass at St. John Fisher Parish. These second graders are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our parish community. Through their participation, we are reminded to experience the joys of Christmas, we must become like children: humble, joyful, pure, and faithful in the goodness of the Christ Child.
St. John Fisher School Principal