Blackwell; Tonkawa Catholic churches plan Christmas Mass

December 20, 2023

Blackwell and Tonkawa’s St. Joseph Catholic Churches have detailed their plans for their Christmas Mass ceremonies.

Father Balaswamy Bathini will celebrate the Mass of the Nativity of the Lord at 8:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve, December 24 at St. Joseph Catholic Church of Tonkawa.

Preceding the Mass, the Christmas Choir will begin caroling at 8:00 p.m., directed by Madison

Gutierrez, accompanied on the organ by Marjilea Smithheisler, and aided by Edwin Gutierrez, sound technician.

The public is invited to attend the caroling and the Mass.

The caroling will feature Father Bala singing “Preme Jagathiki Moolam”; Audrey Caughli performing “Candlelight Carol”, Abby Davis singing “Mary Did You Know”, Ana and Claudia Rodriguez performing “O Holy Night”; Anita Simpson and Cecilia Tarrant performing “Still, Still, Still”; and Cecilia Tarrant with “The Virgin’s Slumber Song”.

The choir will perform “T’was In the Moon of Wintertime”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “The First Noel”, “Angels from the Realms of Glory”, and “Joy to the World”.

The Mass begins as the choir leads the congregation in singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

The procession of celebrant and servers Miguel Pando, Juaquin Pando, and Wyatt Bellinghausen will enter the church with Yesenia and Luca Pando and the children of the church bringing the figure of theChrist Child to the crèche. Father Bathini will bless the crèche and then light the Christ Candle as the choir sings “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” Joe Caughlin will declaim the Christmas Proclamation.

Lectors Robyn Caughlin and Nancy Pendleton will read from the Prophet Isaiah and from the

Letter of St. Paul to Titus. Father Bathini will proclaim the Gospel according to Luke and preach the homily based on that scripture.

Ushers Lance Glasgow and Jim Haen will collect the offering after which Aaron and Annmarie

Stanford and their children Kennedy, Evelyn and Kathryn will present the offertory gifts as the choir and congregation join in “I Wonder as I Wander”.

During the sign of Peace, the choir will sing “Dona Nobis Pacem”. During Holy Communion the choir and congregation will sing “Taste and See” and “Seek Ye First” while Communion Ministers Jay Bellinghausen, Melanie Bellinghausen and Mark Tarrant distribute the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ. The choir and congregation will join in singing the final hymn, “Go, Tell It on The Mountain”. Robyn Caughlin will serve as sacristan.

Evergreen wreaths placed in the windows by Anne Evans and Myrna Fath symbolize the eternal God. Lighted Christmas trees arranged by Melinda Glasgow recall the light of Christ brought into the world. The red of the ribbons and poinsettias decorating the church symbolize the blood shed by the crucified Christ, who came into the world to bring salvation to mankind.

The crèche, prepared by Glasgow, will remain throughout the Christmas season.

Father Bathini will celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at St. Joseph Church in Blackwell at 6:00 p.m.

December 24. On Christmas Day he will celebrate Mass at 9:00 a.m. in Blackwell and 11:00 a.m. in Tonkawa.