Several churches in Delhi, including the Sacred Heart Cathedral, will remain closed for visitors on Christmas Day on Friday, said a notice issued by the church authorities.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, there will not be any midnight Christmas service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral,” said the notice. The church, however, has allowed parishioners to be part of the Christmas service in a limited number after registration. Xmas service will also be available online. The authorities noted that the main gate of the church will remain closed during this period and entry will be from St. Columbas School gates.
Church-goers, understanding the need to adhere to COVID-19 norms, said that they will abide by the SOP issued by the Health Ministry.
“Health first is the motto this year and we are not rushing into churches for the celebrations. Delhi has just been able to control its growing number of COVID-19 cases and we have passed through a phase where even getting a hospital bed was difficult. We don’t want to gather for the festival and push up the numbers again. This is the time to be careful with mutation in the virus also being reported, now,” said Poonam Mathew, a resident of Gole market.
People from the community, however, did contribute towards getting the church ready for Xmas in terms of setting up the star and crib etc.
“Amid the pandemic, Xmas cheer and efforts to decorate churches and home does not die down. The celebrations are definitely low-key with no long lines outside bakeries etc., and comparatively less crowd in the markets. But few of us did contribute towards getting the churches ready for the big day. All preparations were done following COVID-appropriate behaviour. We don’t want people to suffer and hospital beds filling up with COVID patients again just because of a festival,” added John Jacob, resident of CP.