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Forest Hills Churches Open Doors Christmas Eve, Day

Many options for Protestant, Catholic experiences in the neighborhood.

When Laudrey Lamadieu joined in Forest Hills Gardens last February, the choir singing was unlike anything she had experienced in other religious ceremonies.

"It's like chamber music," she said, noting the mix of harmonies, the organ and the praiseful lyrics. "I love the sound of it."

Not surprisingly, Lamadieu is looking forward to the musical portion of the 10 p.m. Christmas service Dec. 24, at the Greenway South house of worship. But as this is her first Christmas at her new place of worship, she's also ready for her first candlelight ceremony and Holy Eucharist.

And in case something suddenly comes up, Lamadieu can attend a 10 a.m. service on Christmas Day at St. Luke's that will include Holy Eucharist, but no candles or choir.

These are just two of Lamadieu's options. Forest Hills has a large, diverse Christian community, and many religious institutions are offering special services to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

We've compiled just a few options for locals who want to experience the organized spiritual aspect of the holiday while staying close to home on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.

at 113-15 Union Turnpike will hold a Christmas Eve Mass of Angels at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony will feature carols, candlelight and communion. Rev. Jeanne R. Warfield informed that this is a festive event and she will give a homily entitled "Heaven in the Mud."

On Christmas Day, Reverend Warfield will offer a Mass of the Shepherds at 11 a.m., featuring carols and communion in an intimate setting. "I usually extend an invitation to come in your P.J.s if that will help you to gather at the crèche of Christ on this morning," she explained, adding that in lieu of a homily, there will be a "Holy Conversation."

Grace Lutheran will celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen with a blend of seasonal sacred texts and familiar faith songs with an emphasis on prayer for the vulnerable, the Forest Hills community and those at risk or in harm's way on Dec. 26 at 10:30 a.m.

For Catholics, there are two options. will hold a Christmas Eve Mass and children's pageant on Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. Then at 11:30 p.m., there will be carols at the 110-06 Queens Boulevard religious institution as a warm-up to a Midnight Mass.

With Christmas falling on a Saturday, the schedule at Queen of Martyrs is a bit different this year. The regular 5 p.m. Saturday service will not take place, but the Sunday Masses at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. will take place as usual on Dec. 26.

The neighborhood's other Catholic institution, , will hold a family Mass featuring its children's choir at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24. Also scheduled are a 6 p.m. Vigil Mass and a Midnight Mass.

On Dec. 25, the 70-01 Kessel Street church will have Masses at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and n00n, but will not offer its customary 5 p.m. Mass or confessions.

, a house of worship with Pilgrim roots located at 50 Ascan Avenue, will hold a 6 p.m. service on Dec. 24 and an 11 p.m. candlelight service.

The  which has Scottish roots and is located at 70-35 112th Street, will offer a candlelight service at 8 p.m. on Dec. 24.

So many options. Lucky for Lamadieu, she's positive that she can make the 10 p.m. service at St. Luke's on Dec. 24. Then, she'll focus on the secular aspects of the holiday on Christmas.

"I'll be heading to a brunch [by 10 a.m.]," she said.

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