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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Christmas fervour grips city

- Thousands attend midnight mass, morning prayers

Churches glowing in bright lights, midnight mass and exchange of greetings ushered in Christmas in the steel city.

The first prayer service got underway at 10.30 on Monday night with St Joseph’s Cathedral in Golmuri, where more than 2,000 were in attendance, witnessing the largest turnout for the midnight mass.

Bishop Father Felix Toppo, who led the prayer service at the church, took the statue of infant Jesus and placed him on a crib inside the church, signifying the birth of the Christ.

This year, St Joseph’s Cathedral had put up three cribs in view of the huge rush as all want to catch a glimpse of the Lord in the manger.

Carol singing began at 10.45pm followed by the mass at 11.30pm, which continued for an hour and a half. All other six Roman Catholic churches of Jamshedpur stuck to the same schedule.

Lupita Hall, Telco, started the mass just as the clock struck 12. A week ago, members of Lupita Hall, Telco, visited Christian families of the area and spread the message of love and peace.

The midnight mass is usually conducted in Hindi, while the morning prayer service, that all Roman Catholic churches of the city held at 6.30am on Tuesday and the second one at 8am, is held in English.

“The church decorations were in place from Monday morning itself. It is mainly illumination of the church and its adjoining buildings. Also, we use balloons, paper lanterns and paper craft to add to the beautiful ambience. After the midnight mass, we distributed coffee and cakes among those present,” said Father Henry Sequerira of St Joseph's Cathedral.

Missionary schools in the city like Sacred Heart Convent School, Carmel Junior College and others also deck up for Christmas. The decorations remaining in place throughout the festive season till New Year.

“We attended the mass prayer service at Lupita Hall in Telco. After the morning service, it is the time for family and friends to visit each other and wish a Merry Christmas,” said Vikas Stephen, co-ordinator of Youth Jamshedpur Catholic Diocese.