Coronavirus Update New York City: Worshippers limited at St. Patrick's Cathedral Midnight Mass amid pandemic

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, December 25, 2020
Worshippers limited at St. Patrick's Cathedral Midnight Mass
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Josh Einiger reports attending church services on Christmas Eve look a lot different this year due to the pandemic.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Attending church services on Christmas Eve -- and particularly Midnight Mass -- is a family tradition for millions across the nation, but it is yet another holiday custom decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a normal year, people lined up an hour in advance to take part in the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.

But in 2020, Midnight Christmas Mass will still be celebrated by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, but there will be no public lottery for seats.

ALSO READ: Christmas unites New York City community after fire guts historic church

Attendance is limited to 500 people, and those tickets have already been distributed. Others are asked to view on the archdiocese's livestream.

Martin and Waleska Enriquez traveled from Rhode Island to experience Christmas in the city. They were undeterred even in a pandemic.

"It's scary, we're taking a chance we shouldn't be here but we are we're taking a chance," Waleska Enriquez said.

At St. John's Divine, a virtual Christmas Eve is where religion met reality.

"What a strange land we've been in this year - this year of COVID and pandemic and disruption," said Rev. Clifton Daniel of Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

There was also the annual Family Mass with Monsignor Robert Ritchie, which was livestreamed at 5:30 p.m.

Usually, the cathedral is packed with worshippers celebrating the birth of Jesus from all over the world, with attendees marking their seats long before the service.

It's a celebration under a century-old roof where inside, visitors say, they get away from the Fifth Avenue hustle and bustle and experience what the holiday is really about and the true meaning of Christmas.

Meanwhile, at the Vatican on Thursday night, people sat socially distanced with masks on.

The pope spoke of acceptance and of not letting the trials of 2020 affect our outlook and our life.

ALSO READ: Historic nearly 300-year-old bell will ring again after surviving church fire

But like many other things this year, it will mostly be a virtual experience for tens of millions.


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