Based Partly on THE CATHOLIC HEARTH, December 1992 Issue
The Plaque page honoring Fr. Mohr and Franz Gruber at
IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVE, 1816, and the young priest felt a little lonely. In his hands was the Bible. He had been reading the Christmas story from its pages.
Now he was thinking of the beautiful city of Salzburg that had been his home. It seemed far away from this tiny village high in the Austrian Alps.
Already the people were on their way to his little church. They were coming from miles around. To help them find their way they carries flaming torches. From his window the priest could see the lights moving across the valley.
There would be no organ music for the Midnight Mass. The organ was old and would not play. [Probably the nearby Salzach River which flooded the area then, even as it does today, and the accompanying dampness from periodic flooding could have caused rust and mildew in various workings of the organ, rendering it inoperable.] How different it all seemed from the music and gaiety of Salzburg!
The priest went back to his reading from St. Luke:
"And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and sating 'Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will.' "
A knock on the door interrupted him. He opened the door and an old peasant woman came in. She stood shaking the snow from her shawl.
"Father Mohr, I've come from high up on the mountain," she said. "This morning a child was born to one of our poor neighbors. The father and mother asked to bring the priest to them to bless the child. Will you come, please, Father?"
Father Mohr had not much time before Midnight Mass. But he smiled at the old