NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A popular Christmas Eve Mass at the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in lower Manhattan continues.

The traditional Midnight Mass isn’t always convenient for those trying to get some rest before Christmas morning.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

“It’s not conducive for children who need to get to bed and need to be asleep when Santa gets there,” church rector Jim Cooper told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

The church has been offering a Children’s Mass for the past 15 years and lets kids tell the story of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

“They’ll connect to a piece of that story and each year, maybe a different piece,” Cooper said.

1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reports

Cooper added that the tradition may unofficially date back even further.

“I really don’t know how long Trinity has done it. It’s been here since 1697, so I bet every year there were children gathered on this site to worship and celebrate Christmas,” Cooper said.

Children are key to the Mass, with many youngsters dressed as angels and shepherds.

“I’m a little nervous but I’m kind of excited, too,” said 9-year-old Taylor, dressed as an angel.

A mother brought her four children to the Mass to get them involved in the holiday.

“I just want them to have the spirit of Christmas and just come to church and thank God for what we have, share with the community the happiness at the end of the year,” one mother told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten.

The mass was standing-room only, with some parishioners even in the church’s alcove listening to the mass over the speaker system, Baumgarten reported.

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