MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know most places are closed, so people can celebrate with family and friends.

There’s one place for sure that will be busy today. Thousands of people are expected to head to the Basilica of St. Mary to celebrate Christmas mass. The church is fully decked out with Christmas decorations and several beautifully lit trees.

Crews have also spent hours cleaning the entire church for all services today. The Basilica hosted Christmas masses on Christmas Eve and will have plenty more today.

Dr. Johan Van Parys, the director of liturgy and sacred arts at Basilica of St. Mary, said the planning for masses starts several months before the actual celebrations. They also rely on hundreds of volunteers to come in and set up the Christmas trees, flowers and other decorations.

Van Parys said their Christmas trees are about 30 feet tall, and because of the large size of the building, all the decorations and celebration take on a much more vibrant feel and larger scale.

He also said in the current days of darkness, it’s vital that church-goers remember their Christmas mass and feel uplifting when they’re leaving.

The Basilica started Christmas Day mass with a service at 7:30 a.m. There are also services at 9:30 a.m. and noon with the Cathedral choir. Their last service is at 4:30 p.m.


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