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Prayers, Revelry Mark Christmas In Lucknow

Every year on Christmas Day, from about 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. 

Christmas celebrations 2022
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Christmas cheer rang out through the bustling Hazratganj area here as worshippers flocked St. Joseph's Cathedral to take part in the midnight mass and lit candles.

The cathedral compound was decked up with Christmas lights and stars. Outside, vendors selling Santa caps and revellers clicking photos with the imposing cathedral in the background lined the streets, while horse-mounted policemen were seen making rounds in the area. "The main church in the city St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hazratganj had the Holy Mass on Saturday night with the singing of Christmas carols and it was presided over by the Bishop of Lucknow Gerald John Mathias and other priests. "This year, mainly the Parish members and their families participated in the Midnight Holy Mass and will also participate in the Divine Services held during the day on December 25," Donald H. R. De Souza, chancellor and spokesperson of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, said in a statement here.

Every year on Christmas Day, from about 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 continued till 1970. It was demolished in 1970 and in 1977 the new church building was inaugurated," De Souza told PTI. In his Christmas message, Rev Bishop Gerald Mathias of Lucknow said, "On Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace! May this Christmas bring us real peace and joy offered by Lord Jesus Christ, which is very much needed in the world of today."

He appealed to the community to return to the spiritual message of Christmas and not to be tempted to commercialise it. Rev Parag Wesley of the Assembly of Believers Church Daliganj said, "We have decorated the church with Christmas stars and lights. We also started our carol singing on December 22 and it continued till December 24. On Christmas day, we will start our service at 10 am followed by Christmas cake and tea." According to the new guidelines issued by the government, he said, church members have been asked to use face masks when coming to the church and avoid coming if anyone has fever or cough and congestion.

"We have also kept the masks at entry gates and will ensure that no one enters the church without masks," he added. Christmas celebrations were also held at All Saints Garrison Church in Lucknow Cantonment. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath extended Christmas greetings to the people of the state and appealed to them to take all precautions in view of COVID-19. "@myogiadityanath has extended greetings and wishes to the people of the state on the occasion of Christmas. The chief minister said that this festival gives the message of helping the needy and sharing happiness," the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a tweet in Hindi.

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