GUWAHATI, Dec 24 - Amid the impact of the global pandemic, the State is ready for low-key Christmas celebrations tomorrow with limited entries during the masses and quieter festivities. While many churches across the State gave a miss to Thursday�s midnight vigil, � a speciality of Christmas Eve � others discouraged large gatherings, mainly restricting the services among church members.
Churches in many parts of the State reworked their evening prayer timings, winding up the Christmas Eve services by 10 pm today.
St Joseph�s Cathedral at Panbazar here which is the centre of attraction of Guwahati�s Xmas celebrations, organised its vigil mass at 9 pm. �No midnight mass was organised today in view of the global pandemic and health-related precautions. Even during tomorrow�s Christmas service at 9 am, we are targeting an entry of not more than 120 visitors at a time so that social distancing can be maintained effectively. Our volunteers on the church premises will also assist people in maintaining distance from one another while entering the church, lighting candles, etc.,� Father Vincent Xalxo, parish priest of the church said.
This time, the church also gave a miss to door-to-door carol singing that is integral to Xmas celebrations. The beautiful decoration and nativity depicting the birth of Jesus Christ, however, attracted a good number of visitors to the church premises this evening. Among others, MP Gaurav Gogoi along with his family visited the church and lighted candles.
The Christ Church, Panbazar, also known as the Church of North India (CNI), organised the usual pre-Christmas service at 11 pm with a limited number of attendees. �In tomorrow�s programme at 9.30 in the morning, we will not encourage a large number of people as it is mainly a worship service. However, from 11 am we will keep the premises open for visitors. A notice regarding the mandatory use of masks will be put up at the gates,� said Dr Roger Gaikwad, presbyter of the Christ Church.