Midnight Masses

While most of us are peeling the potatoes, stuffing the turkey, buying Christmas presents or laying the table, the increasingly stretched clergy in Britain are putting the finishing touches to Midnight Mass.

For them, this is an extra special night.

With church numbers decreasing and the age of the congregation on the way up, this is the one chance they have to speak to those in their community they would never normally see.

We witness the preparations in three very different churches and speak to some of those for whom this is the only occasion in which they walk - or stagger - through the church doors.

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20051224

While most of us are peeling the potatoes, stuffing the turkey, buying Christmas presents or laying the table, the increasingly stretched clergy in Britain are putting the finishing touches to Midnight Mass.

For them, this is an extra special night.

With church numbers decreasing and the age of the congregation on the way up, this is the one chance they have to speak to those in their community they would never normally see.

We witness the preparations in three very different churches and speak to some of those for whom this is the only occasion in which they walk - or stagger - through the church doors.