JULIA NAGY | The Natchez Democrat — The Rev. David O’Connor preaches during Christmas morning mass at St. Mary Basilica.

Locals observe Christmas Mass

Published 12:04am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

By JULIA NAGY

NATCHEZ — As the pitter-patter of rain fell against St. Mary Basilica’s ornate stained glass windows, the Rev. David O’Connor preached to his congregation on Christmas morning.

“It’s a good time to think about the blessings in our life,” he said during the service.

JULIA NAGY | The Natchez Democrat — David Troutman sings a hymn during Christmas mass at St. Mary Basilica.

St. Mary Basilica hosted mass Christmas morning, attracting individuals from other Christian denominations.

David Troutman, who was raised in the Church of England, attended the service even though his background is Presbyterian.

“You can still worship God, even if it isn’t in your tradition,” Troutman said. “I want to celebrate and worship on Christmas Day.”

Troutman along with approximately 50 members of the community attended the mass.

O’Connor stressed the importance of the real meaning of Christmas.

“Jesus gave us an example of what it means to be a good human being,” O’Connor said. “You and I want to do what is right. We are challenged to cherish our gift of human life.”

JULIA NAGY | The Natchez Democrat — Betty Lou Hicks prays during Christmas morning mass at St. Mary Basilica.

Rain or shine, the Smith family was going to go to Christmas mass. They’ve done it every year.

“That’s just what we do as a family,” Mattie Smith said. “It’s very important.”

O’Connor also stressed the importance of family and remembering the good deeds human beings can do.

O’Connor talked about the duality of man, having a good and bad side.

The congregation sang various hymns, celebrating the birth of a savior.

For Key Smith, the service had meaning.

“This is the reason Christianity is here,” Smith said. “Without Jesus, this day, Christianity wouldn’t exist.”

O’Connor stressed holding onto the good side of humanity.

“We need to reaffirm our own humanness and the goodness in our minds,” O’Connor said. “Trying to be a good human being is part of our obligation.”