DIBRUGARH, Dec 21 - The Christmas celebrations is again expected to be a low-key affair in the region due to the continuing pandemic situation. The Christmas revelry remained affected previous year too due to the then prevailing law-and-order problem owing to massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
In view of the contagion-induced fear and in keeping with the guidelines of the government, the Church authorities here have decided to keep it simple with minimal participation in religious ceremonies and with modest decorations. �Priests as also the people are advised to strictly adhere to the health protocols. We have stressed on maintaining social distancing, hand washing and wearing of masks,� Joseph Aind, the Bishop of the catholic diocese of Dibrugarh told The Assam Tribune.
Given the prevailing situation, Christians will be largely attending prayer services in their respective community churches. People are aware of the situation and they will not be swarming to their parish churches, said Bishop Aind. By tradition, Christians throng to the parish Church on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning to attend the priest-led Christmas religious services.
Strict advisories have also been issued for people visiting the city�s Sacred Heart Cathedral church here. Fr Nicholas Kerketta, Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish has said that people will not be allowed inside the church campus without wearing masks. �Although we are planning to celebrate Christmas in a simple manner, we are being very careful,� he said.
In view of the coming Christmas celebrations, Churches and Christian families in the city have already hung aesthetic stars on their roof tops. Prayers like novena (continuous prayer for nine successive days) began on December 16 and carols are also being rehearsed for Christmas at Sacred Heart Cathedral here. The Christmas vigil services will be held at 5 pm on December 24 while the Christmas service will be held at 8 am the following day, informed Fr Kerketta.
The local Parish Priest also informed that the main gate of the church campus will remain closed after 7:30 pm on Christmas Day and on the following days to control the visiting crowd.