While many people regard the days leading up to Christmas as a joyful time, for some it can be very stressful and even a time of great struggle.

As a result, Saint John Neumann Parish, Nativity of Our Lord Church, will offer its first “Blue Christmas Mass” on Christmas morning, Dec. 25, at 9:30 a.m.

“We read about it in some other places and we as a team sat down and said, ‘Should we do this?’ and we all said yes,” Rev. Michael Bryant, pastor, said.

The Blue Christmas Mass will be a Mass for people and their family or friends who might feel at odds with – or estranged from – the general feeling of joy and happiness at this time of year.

“It’s not necessarily people that are in deep depression but it’s people remembering that they’ve lost loved ones who are not going to be around this year, it’s people who are struggling to make ends meet financially or it’s people who are trying to take care of an ill parent or child who has a chronic disease,” Rev. Bryant said.

The Mass will seek to comfort people by reminding them that they are not alone. While the Mass will still focus on Christmas itself, the birth of Christ, organizers hope to emphasize God’s hope and joy.

“It is open to anyone,” Rev. Bryant said. “It’s Christmas. Our theme this year has been HOPE so we want to emphasize that there is hope for all of God’s people!” Rev. Bryant added.

The music for the Mass is still being finalized, but it is expected to be mellow, relaxing and peaceful without triumphant organ fanfares or majestic hymns.

Saint John Neumann Parish, Nativity of Our Lord Church, is located at 633 Orchard Street in South Scranton.

For more information, please contact Saint John Neumann Parish at (570) 344-6159 or check out the parish website at stjnparish.org or its Facebook page.