New York

Faithful Return To In-Person Christmas Services At St. Patick’s Cathedral For The First Time In 2 Years

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The faithful flocked to St. Patrick’s cathedral this Christmas Day, packing the pews, comforted by the thought this year, they are able to celebrate the birth of Christ with each other.

“To have that resemblance of community and also togetherness in this difficult time,” said parishioner Ivory Prinashanti.

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Despite the dark cloud of the Omicron variant hanging above the city, Cardinal Timothy Dolan chose to welcome back crowds at full capacity this year.

Parishioners young and old traveled from near and far to light a candle and receive Holy Communion inside.

“It’s beautiful and it’s also… I didn’t expect it to be this big,” said parishioner Aji Butro.

“We always go to Mass. We never miss a Mass,” a woman named Marie said.

In his Christmas Day homily, Dolan asked worshippers to reflect on the true meaning of this sacred day, retelling the story of how Jesus was born.

“Every Mass is a live Nativity scene as Jesus is reborn in our hearts through the gift of faith, prayer, and the most Holy Eucharist,” Dolan said.

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While COVID once again forced some houses of worship, like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, to move their services online, families were determined not to let the pandemic get in the way of tradition. One family stopped by St. Patrick’s to make sure their children knew the holiday wasn’t just about presents.

“Jesus did of course suffer quite a lot more than we are suffering right now, so I think that’s a very useful thing to remember this holiday,” said Tribeca resident Evan Frank.

“He came to save us all from our sins and give us freedom,” said Amy Storrie.

At one service in Bayside, Queens Friday, the spirit of Christmas also shined bright.

“My mother passed in May, and she loved always coming to mass at Christmastime,” one parishioner said. “So my sister and I decided to come and be with her here.”

Together unwrapping the true meaning of Christmas.

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For those who do not feel comfortable attending services in person today, most houses of worship are streaming them online.

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