MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands will make their way into downtown Minneapolis tonight to celebrate Christmas at the Basilica. Volunteers have been preparing the church all morning for the church’s Christmas celebrations.

In just a few hours, people will begin to pour in from all over the metro area to celebrate Christmas Eve mass.

Volunteers were busy all morning long making those last minute preps, dressing the altar, setting up the candles and unwrapping the beautiful poinsettias. There are more than 10 large Christmas trees, and tons of poinsettias in this year’s decorations.

Johan van Parys, who is the director of liturgy at the Basilica, said there are about 80 people who put all of it together, and the result is perfect.

“The church is alive. We have older people, we have children, we have people from different backgrounds. The church comes together. It’s not just staff who does it, it’s owned by everyone in the parish which is so beautiful about it,” van Parys said.

The first mass starts at 3 p.m. Tuesday, with Archbishop Bernard Hebda presiding. And, for those interested in attending the 3 p.m. mass, you might want to get in around 2:15 p.m.

Click here to see the full mass schedule for the Basilica.

Katie Steiner