Mumbai: Churches in
the city were filled with thousands of pious worshippers who
gathered to usher in Christmas in their best suits and shimmering
The churches, decorated with stars and fairy lights, wore a
welcoming look. Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias
conducted the midnight mass at the Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba
in south Mumbai.
While some churches started the mass as early as 8.30 p.m., some
started it after 10 p.m. and finished by midnight due to
restriction on loud speakers.
Children at St Michael's Church in Mahim started with singing of
carols. A special tableau showing the life of Jesus through the
eyes of Mary was presented that was followed by the mass.
The Gloria Church in Byculla in south Mumbai also had carols
followed by the midnight mass. Three special services would be
organised on the morning of Christmas.
The Don Bosco Church in Matunga had a lively choir, and thousands
of people flocked here to usher in Christmas with gaiety.
"I have been coming here since I was a child. Although I no longer
live in this area, I make it a point to attend the midnight miss
here," said Sue Dias, a worshipper.
More than 400 years old, the Our Lady of Egypt Church in suburban
Santacruz was all decked up to welcome over 4,000 worshippers who
come here every year to attend the midnight mass.
"We generally make arrangements for most of the worshippers to sit
during the mass. But there are several others who prefer standing
and hence we see a packed ground every year," said Loy Dias from
Said to be one of the oldest churches in Mumbai, The Lady of
Immaculate Conception Church in suburban Borivli saw a whopping
12,000 worshippers this year. The mass here finished by 10 p.m.
"With the ban on loudspeakers, the mass no longer starts at
midnight. But I found it a very comfortable time as I will be home
sooner and can wake up afresh on Christmas day," said 62-year-old
Ron Pinto, a regular parishioner of the church.
Short readings were undertaken in Konkani and Marathi with hyms
sung by the parishioners along with the priests present on the
Christian pockets of Colaba, Byculla, Mazgaon, Mahim, Bandra,
Malvani, Orlem, Borivli and Bhayander had practically turned into
brightly lit celebration venues. Families were seen greeting each
other after the mass.
Mumbai is home to over 11 lakh Christians, of which six lakh are