Lucknow, Dec 24 (PTI) Christmas cheer erupted in the bustling Hazratganj area here on Saturday night as worshipers flocked to St Joseph’s Cathedral on Saturday to participate in midnight mass and light candles.
The cathedral compound was decorated with Christmas lights and stars.
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Outside, vendors selling Santa hats and revelers clicking photos with the towering cathedral in the background roamed the streets, while policemen on horseback were seen circling around.
“The city’s main church of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hazratganj had a holy mass on Saturday night with carols sung and was presided over by Lucknow’s Bishop Gerald John Mathias and other priests.
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“This year mainly parishioners and their families have participated in the Midnight Holy Mass and will also participate in the Divine Services held throughout the day on December 25,” said Donald HR De Souza, Chancellor and Spokesperson of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow. here in a statement.
Every year on Christmas Day, from 10 am to 10 pm, more than 1,00,000 people visit the church and the Marian Grotto (shrine of Mother Mary) to light votive candles and pray, the statement said.
“The Christian community in Lucknow is more than 160 years old. The first church was built around 1863 or so. That lasted till 1970. It was pulled down in 1970 and the new church building was inaugurated in 1977,” De Souza told PTI.
In his Christmas message, Bishop Gerald Mathias of Lucknow said: “At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace! May this Christmas bring us the true peace and joy offered by the Lord Jesus Christ, which is so much needed in today’s world.”
He appealed to the community to return to the spiritual message of Christmas and not be tempted by commercialism.
Rev. Parag Wesley of the Daliganj Congregation of the Faithful said, “We have decorated the church with Christmas stars and lights. We also started singing our carol on December 22 and it continued till December 24. On Christmas Day, we will start the service. At 10:00 am and then Christmas cake and tea.”
According to the new guidelines issued by the government, he said church members have been asked to wear face masks when coming to church and to avoid coming if anyone has a fever or cough and congestion.
“We have also kept masks at the entrance doors and we will make sure that no one enters the church without a mask,” he added.
Christmas celebrations were also held at the All Saints Garrison Church in Lucknow Cantonment.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath extended his Christmas greetings to the people of the state and asked them to take all precautions against the COVID-19.
“@myogiadityanath has extended greetings and wishes to the people of the state on the occasion of Christmas. The Chief Minister said this festival conveys a message of helping the poor and sharing happiness,” the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said in a tweet. in hindi
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