World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002000816
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pasterka  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Christmas in Poland, Culture of Poland, Wigilia, Midnight Mass (disambiguation), Bóg się rodzi
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


For other uses, see Pasterka (disambiguation).

Template:Infobox Christian denomination

Pasterka is a Midnight mass celebrated during Christmas between 24 and 25 December by Roman Catholics across Poland.[1] A close translation of the name would be the "Shepherds' Mass" (literally: the shepherdess in Polish), in reference to the Biblical shepherds, who were visited by an angel and told of the birth of Christ. During the Pasterka mass, Polish people sing traditional Christmas carols (kolędy,[2] from the Roman calendae) in the spirit of joy.[1]


Although Pasterka mass is closely associated with the specific time in Christian liturgy, it is not the actual hour of the night that predicates its meaning. According to Polish ordinance of the Eucharist the Pasterka is defined only by the type of prayer and biblical texts used during Christmas celebrations. It can be held more than once on December 24, in more than one location by the parish priest; at the church and at a nearby chapel.[3] Often, there are two (or even three)[4] Pasterkas celebrated next to each other – earlier ones for the families with children, then at 9 and 10 p.m. for the youth, and a final one at 12:00 midnight,[5][6] for the adults.[3]

The participation in the Birth of Christ celebrations is obligatory for all practicing Catholics. They have the option of attending any one of the evening masses or even more than one. Priests may refer to all of them as Pasterka,[3] even though formally they are called Wigilia masses by the episcopate as oppose to the grand mass at midnight.[7] The exact hour of the Birth of Christ is not written in the Canonical gospels which allows for choosing the ideal time for ritual prayer on that occasion.[4] On the Christmas Eve (December 24) and on Christmas Day the masses can be celebrated from three different liturgical texts, each suited to a specific sacrament of the Eucharist.[8] In the early hours, the worshippers can attend the Advent waiting mass, which does not excuse them from participating in the Nativity mass for the Birth of Christ later on.[3]

There are no masses in the late afternoon on December 24, which is the time for Wigilia, the traditional supper at family homes. The first evening mass of the Christmas Eve (after the Wigilia) is celebrated around 4 p.m. or later before 8 p.m. followed by the 10 p.m. mass and the one-hour-long grand Midnight Mass, which begins at 12. Music for the Midnight Mass begins as soon as the doors open at 11:00 p.m. The Blessing of the Crib can take place before,[6] or after the homilies, when the priests open the Szopka nativity scenes set up by the main altar.[9] Traditionally, the service concludes with an Apostolic Blessing.[10] The next day masses are interchangeable according to scripture, allowing for flexibility in choosing the religious services by individual parishioners. The Christmas Day begins with the early morning mass followed by daytime masses.[3]

Pasterka is a Catholic mass specific to the Birth of Christ celebrations in Poland. Participation in Pasterka is synonymous with Christmas. Many practicing Catholics visit the Church twice on that occasion and are encouraged by the priest to do so.[3]

Polish traditional Christmas carol
Music sample from the Bóg się rodzi.
Lyrics by Franciszek Karpiński, 1792.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.