Réveillon and Catholic Mass: A Christmas Tradition

Celebrating with Food, Family and Faith

In Louisiana, many families celebrate Christmas with Réveillon, a festive feast after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The name of this celebration comes from the French word “réveil,” or “awakening.” It is observed in many French-speaking places around the world to welcome Christmas Day.

Traditions in the Kitchen

Among those who celebrate Réveillon are Elizabeth Reau and Shirley Cormier in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. These two friends look forward to celebrating each year with this festive tradition. After attending Christmas Vigil Mass with family, they return home for gifts, fun, and a delicious meal. And in the homes of many in the southern Louisiana, the menu would not be complete without one dish: gumbo.

Elizabeth and Shirley invited us into the kitchen to discover what makes a great gumbo recipe. Watch the video below to hear how their faith is mixed into this classic Louisiana dish.

What about this year?

Due to pandemic restrictions, Réveillon this year may look a little different. For those able to attend Christmas Mass in person, masks and social distance will fill our churches. Large gatherings with extended family may need to wait until next year. But for Catholics in Southeast Louisiana, some things will always be good-–a warm bowl of gumbo and their Catholic faith.

In any gumbo there’s one constant–just like we depend on the trinity, the family, the son, and the Holy Spirit, in our faith life. We depend on the trinity of diced bell pepper, celery and onions in our gumbo. 

Food, Festivities and Faith

As American Catholics, there are many things that unite us—the miracle of the Mass, the powerful intercession of the saints, our loving honor for the Blessed Mother, just to name a few. 

There is beauty in our diverse expressions of faith. This holiday season, we invite you to join us on a journey across the United States to meet Catholic communities different than your own. Through digital experiences, we are walking with others who live their faith.

Want to celebrate the season with other Catholics in far-reaching corners of country and society? Join us online for Mass, concerts, and meaningful recipes like the one above.

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