Novice's prayer at televised Midnight Mass

The Crib at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. Credit: Peter Jennings
The Crib at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. Credit: Peter Jennings

Among those taking part in the televised Midnight Mass on BBC One on Christmas Eve this year will be a Jesuit novice from Manresa House in Birmingham. Christopher Brolly nSJ, a second-year novice in the novitiate, will be reading one of the Bidding Prayers during the Eucharist which will be broadcast live from St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham with Archbishop Bernard Longley as the Principal Celebrant.

This year, St Chad’s has been celebrating its 175th anniversary and considers it to be a great honour to be the setting for BBC One’s Midnight Mass. Built between 1839 and 1841, St Chad’s was the first Catholic cathedral erected in England since the Reformation. On the occasion of its centenary in 1941, it was made a minor basilica by Pope Pius XII, meaning it enjoys a special association with the Pope and is entitled to have the papal coat-of-arms above the front door.

Earlier this year, novice Christopher ran the London Marathon to help raise funds for Jesuit Missions (JM) where he had been based for his ‘experiment’. Experiments are projects for Jesuit novices which help them learn about aspects of serving the faith and, during his experiment, Christopher helped to develop JM’s new Education for Justice schools’ resources. He also worked on creating the new Prayer pages on the JM website and took part in a range of multi-faith activities in St Anselm’s parish in Southall. Christopher also previously worked as a secondary school teacher in Dakar (Senegal), as well as in Liverpool and Newcastle.

Welcomed into peoples' homesPrincipal Celebrant, Archbishop Bernard Longley (Mazur/

The televised Midnight Mass will begin by candlelight at 11.45pm with the Blessing of the Crib and the music will be provided by the Cathedral choir, conducted by Professor David Saint.

"In this, the 175th anniversary of the Cathedral, the BBC broadcast is a great opportunity for St Chad's and an honour," the Dean of the Cathedral, Canon Gerry Breen, said. "It will be marvellous for us to be welcomed into peoples' homes, particularly for those who can't get out in person or who live alone and especially for those who might be facing their first Christmas alone. The organisers are hoping for all the congregation to start the Mass holding candles and we're really looking forward to this very special celebration of Midnight Mass."

The Christmas Eve broadcast from St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham is, of course, live. However, once it has been broadcast, the Midnight Mass will be available on the BBC's website.