Dear mother, be one with me on Christmas Eve, join in the holy mysteries in Aix while I celebrate them for you in Amiens, in the most fervent of communities [ed. the Sisters of the Sacred Heart]; let each of us for our own part speak our minds to our good Master who assuredly will be quite unable to say no on such a wonderful day…
Letter to his mother, 8 December 1811, O.W. XIV n. 96
After his ordination, the custom was to spend more days in retreat in preparation for celebrating Mass for the first time. On the day of his ordination he wrote:
I leave you now, dear, darling mother. I have three days still to get used to the idea that I am a priest and prepare to celebrate the divine mysteries on the delightful night our lovable Saviour is born in a stable….
Letter to his mother after his priestly ordination, 21 December 1811, O.W. XIV n.97
In the Annales of the house of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Amiens it is stated: “December 25, 1811, at midnight M. de Mazenod and M. Desportes, who had been ordained at the priesthood some days before, said their Mass in the chapel of the Holy Virgin, and afterwards at 10:00 a.m., after high Mass, they carried out the ceremony of the imparting of first blessing.”
For the blessing, Eugene had instructed the Master of Ceremonies:
During the moving ceremony of imparting of first blessing, please have the psalm Credidi propter quod, etc. [ed. “I believed; therefore I said…” Psalm 116:10], sung as in the seminary, preceded by the antiphon, Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi [ed. “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12], that is repeated at every verse and has a quite ravishing effect on the newly-ordained priest because of all the feelings it gives rise to in his heart.
Note to Father de Sambucy, master of ceremonies at Eugene’s First Masses, 24 December 1811, O.W. XIV n. 99
For the sake of completeness I include some of his Mass intentions for his first, second and third Masses, which were the three Christmas Masses:
First Mass, Christmas Eve: for myself.
To obtain forgiveness of my sins, love of God above all things, and perfect love of neighbour.
Utmost sorrow for having offended such a good and lovable God. The grace of making reparation for my faults by a life wholly and solely employed in his service and for the salvation of souls.
The Spirit of J.C.
Final perseverance, and even martyrdom or at least death while tending victims of the plague, or any other kind of death for God’s glory or the salvation of souls.
A holy freedom of spirit in God’s service…
The grace of showing me his holy will: 1) as to the kind of ministry I am to take up, 2) in my every daily action, however trivial seeming, and a constant attention to his interior voice that I might do nothing that is not in accordance with his good pleasure.
Second Christmas Mass: for the repose of the soul of my dearest grandmother.
Third Christmas Mass: for my father, mother, sister, two uncles, niece, brother-in-law, cousin, and all my other relatives in general. For all their spiritual and temporal needs, but especially their conversion or final perseverance.
December 26, St. Stephen’s Day: for my good friend Charles de Janson and all the deacons of God’s holy Church. For their final perseverance and total devotion to the service of God and the Church.
My Mass Intentions, December 1811, O.W. XIV n. 100