This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday. That means a slightly different timing for services on Gasparilla Island.
For Lighthouse United Methodist Church, all services will be on Sunday, the 24th. There are three services: regular Sunday of Advent service at 10 a.m., a family Christmas service at 5 p.m., and a traditional candlelight service at 7 p.m.
The family service is called “Faces Around the Manger” and it will feature the children from the congregation acting out the Christmas story. They will be in costume and sharing their insights on the birth of the Christ Child. Lighthouse United Methodist will have no services on Christmas Day this year.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will have services on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
On Sunday, Christmas Eve, St. Andrew’s will offer three worship opportunities. There will be a family service at 4 p.m.; a musical prelude at 7:30 p.m.; and a candlelight service at 8 p.m. There also will be a Christmas Day service with the Holy Eucharist at 9:30 a.m.
The family service will be a combination of fun and worship, including a Christmas pageant.
St. Andrew’s will also have a musical prelude at 7:30 p.m. and a candlelight service at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The musical program will include Broadway performer Maria Wirries along with other gifted musicians: Kat Baloff on violin, Jordan Tenev on cello, and Seth Wertz on piano. This live performance promises to be festive and joyous, perfectly setting the tone for the candlelight service that follows at 8 p.m.
On Monday, Christmas Day, St. Andrew’s will take a more sedate tone, with Holy Eucharist celebration at 9:30 a.m., with musical accompaniment on the piano.
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church will have Masses for the Fourth Sunday of Advent at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Christmas vigil Mass will be at 5 p.m. and a “midnight Mass” will be at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 24. There will be masses on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25, at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
There is also a televised Mass on Monday, Dec. 25 for those who are homebound. It is offered by the Diocese of Venice. The Rt. Rev. Frank J. Dewane will be the celebrant. It will air at 8 a.m. on the CW and WFTX (FOX-4) Networks.