Bishop W. Shawn McKnight’s first Christmas Eve Mass as bishop of Jefferson City coincided with the 50th anniversary of the first Mass in the Cathedral of St. Joseph. (100 photos)
Joining Bishop McKnight at the altar for the 9 p.m. Mass were Bishop Emeritus John R. Gaydos, who led the diocese from 1997-2017; Father Louis Nelen, pastor of the Cathedral parish; and Monsignor Donald W. Lammers PA, a retired priest of the diocese who is in residence at the parish.
Assisting the bishop were Deacon Robert Rackers, who served as choir director at the first Mass in the cathedral in 1968; Deacon John Schwartze, who was an alter server at the first Mass 50 years ago; and Rev. Mr. Bradley Berhorst, a transitional deacon who is studying in Rome and hopes to be ordained a priest of the diocese this spring.
Echoing the words of the angel who greeted the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth, Bishop McKnight told the vast assembly of congregants: “I proclaim to you good news of great joy: Today, a savior is born for us, Christ the Lord! On this night, we celebrate the gift of God’s Son to us as a little baby. God from God, Light from Light.”
Bishop McKnight noted that it was “exactly 50 years ago this night that the first Bishop of Jefferson City, Joseph Marling, offered the first Mass ever celebrated in this very church.”
“On this night, when we celebrate light overcoming the darkness, we have something special to celebrate here at the Cathedral,” he said. “This anniversary reminds us of how the Cathedral parish community is called to be a light for the families of this parish and for our wider community,” said Bishop McKnight. “And tonight, your fourth Bishop of Jefferson City celebrates his first Christmas Mass as Bishop with his heart full of gratitude for you.”
Young people of the parish who are preparing to receive their Frist Holy Communion held candles during the blessing of the manger scene.
“These young and innocent children remind us something of ourselves whenever we receive Holy Communion: that to God the Father, we are all his dear little children,” said Bishop McKnight. “And to such as these, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.”