Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


December 6, 2012

First ever Christmas Eve Mass at Collins Center

Huge crowd expected for 4 p.m. Mass

Move over Clara and the rest of “The Nutcracker” troupe who typically perform on the Collins Center stage at this time of year. An altar is coming on Christmas Eve.

For the very first time, the town’s largest Catholic parish holding a Christmas Eve Mass at the Collins Performing Arts Center at Andover High School.

Traditionally, the Christmas Eve Masses around 4 p.m. have been very crowded at St. Augustine Church on Essex Street. The church has held Christmas Eve Masses at four locations over the years — upstairs and downstairs at the church, at the smaller satellite church in Ballardvale (St. Joseph’s) and at the Collegiate Church at Merrimack College. But church officials are worried about crowd safety.

“This church can hold 558 people safely,” said church pastor the Rev. Peter Gori. “We are very concerned about safety and decided to change things this year.”

Christmas Eve Mass attendance swells to about 1,900 people, he said, and adding another location was a priority after someone had a medical emergency at a Christmas Eve Mass last year.

“It could have been a tragedy given the overcrowding,” Father Gori said.

“We cannot continue to take that kind of risk. After careful study and planning we have decided to have the one and only 4 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve at the Collins Center, where there is room for 1,200 of us and plenty of parking,” Father Gori wrote in last Sunday’s church bulletin.

“This Mass time, 4 p.m., is especially attractive for families with young children, which is great! I look forward to being there with you.”

A sort of altar on wheels, made by a parishioner, will be set up on the Collins stage and Christmas decorations will adorn the stage. Father Gori said the 4 p.m. time slot typically attracts families with young children.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

    FILE PHOTO Kim Stamas at an Arbor Day program this spring at The Park. She took over as Department of Community Services director in March.

    Busy summer for Stamas; Community Services director reflects on strong season Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

    FILE PHOTO Casey McQuillen, seen here performing at an Andover Youth Services Valentine's Day Dance, is hoping for clearer skies Thursday night for her Concert in The Park.

    Waiting out the storm; McQuillen opts for one-day rain delay for Concert in The Park Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

    PHOTO CUTLINE: The cast of the Actor's Company will perform Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a joyful comedy full of mischief, deception and ultimately love, will be performed for free on the North Andover Town Common, Friday, August 22, 6 pm. (Pictured Autumn Buhl as Hero, James T. Turner, III as Claudio, Kerry Anne Kilkelly as Beatrice and and J.T. Turner as Benedick) For details contact Linda Greenstein, 978-352-7315

    Out & About: Local actor high-flying in 'Mary Poppins' on Maine stage Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos

    FILE PHOTO Casey McQuillen, who aims to incorporate an important message for adolescents into her music, takes to the bandstand at The Park in downtown Andover next week. Her appearance will cap off the town's annual summer music series.

    Keeping it real; Hometown 'Idol' sings about what matters most Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140731_AT_CRU_VEHICLES_5

    Deena Droubi, 5, poses from the cab of one of the Department of Public Works' mini loaders as she climbs down from the vehicle. Deena got a chance to sit behind the wheel of the piece of heavy equipment.

    Show and tell: Town wheels roll out for Vehicle Night Posted 13 days ago 6 Photos
  • AT ACT1

    COURTESY PHOTO "The Jungle Book" cast members, from left, Somin Virmani as Mowgli, Sophia Yannolfo as Buzzy the vulture, Jillian Alden as Ziggy the vulture, Meyer Rosen as Flaps the vulture and Caroline Samoluk as Dizzy the vulture, rehearse in ACT's current theater space.

    Hoping for a kickstart; ACT Andover launches online campaign for new theater Posted 13 days ago 3 Photos

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover's Alex Hanscom will play Gomez in Boston Children's Theatre's weekend production of "The Addams Family."

    Out & About: World-class tap stepping into Collins Center Posted 13 days ago 2 Photos
  • Thursday, July 31, 2014
  • 140722_AT_MSC_DANCE_2

    Ricky Jaime, left, cheers on Isaac Brickman as he works on his moves on stage at the Collins Center.

    'So You Think You Can ...' Posted 20 days ago 6 Photos

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Volunteer Martha Owen of Andover works in the perennial garden at The Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. A dedicated group of local residents recently restored the perennial beds, which were established at the estate in 1907.

    Inspiring tales abound in The Andovers Posted 20 days ago 4 Photos

    Courtesy photo Megan McCann, left, and Melanie Scharn, right, have launched a fundraising campaign to assist Tammy Jusczak, center, a longtime toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in Andover who is battling cancer.

    Jamming return for Ben Rudnick & Friends Posted 20 days ago 1 Photo

Pictures of the Week