Tampa, Florida -- Christmas Eve mass is a religious tradition steeped in old world history, and nowhere in Tampa Bay is it more so than at Sacred Heart in downtown Tampa.
Since 1905, this opulent church adorned with white marble pillars, alabaster flying buttresses, and German stained glass has been a place of worship for Tampa families.
"Generations have been coming to mass here and they've continue to come with their parents and grandparents, and it's a wonderful thing," said Father Zack Elliott.
"It's not about gifts, this, it's not about marketing. It's not about consumerism. This is about the birth of Jesus, and it's very important to my family and that's why I'm here," said parishioner Mariana.
For many, Sacred Heart is family.
"This is my first Christmas away from my family, so the catholic church is my family even when I can't [be] home," said Nicole Bratten, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital.
Candles, crucifixes, and a chorus of voices combine on this holy night -- significance recognized by even the youngest of souls.
"They tell us how Jesus was born and his story."
Check out some ofour mostread stories from 2013:
#shortyellows:Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning:Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot:Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology:Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Controversial Club:College student organizes "White Student Union"
Warning Shot Wife:Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest:Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT??Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth:Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting:Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners:Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected:Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole:Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders:Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections:Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here