Festive fever: Mumbai gears up for Christmas | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Festive fever: Mumbai gears up for Christmas

One of the few churches that continue to hold the mass at midnight, the Basilica of Mount Mary in Bandra has also put up giant screens outside so visitors do not miss the prayer service.

mumbai Updated: Dec 22, 2014 22:26 IST
HT Correspondent

With two days left for Christmas, roads leading to Basilica of Mount Mary, Bandra (West), has been lit up with bulbs and lamps.

One of the few churches that continue to hold the mass at midnight, the Basilica has also put up giant screens outside so visitors do not miss the prayer service.

The church expects more than 2,000 people to attend it, said vice-rector Aniceto Periera.

Churches across Mumbai are giving a final touch to preparations for ushering in the birth of Jesus Christ.

At the Holy Name Cathedral, Colaba, the seat of the Catholic Church, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai, will officiate the mass at 10pm on December 24.

Known as one of the most high-profile celebrations in the city, the event will see the parish choir perform at 9.30 pm. “Our Cathedral choir, which has been performing for many years, is always an attraction,” said Margaret Da Costa, vice-president of the parish council.

As Catholics always celebrate Christmas as the season of giving, the Colaba church brought smiles to 100 slum families on Monday. The church parishioners contributed resources and threw a party for the underprivileged families.

Keeping up the spirit, residents of Borivli and Kandivli will gift 200 solar lamps to tribal families in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Tuesday.

While preparations are in full swing, churches rue they cannot hold the mass in the open after 10pm owing to sound restrictions. The rule, in place for more than a decade now, continues to dishearten the city’s Christians. A spokesperson of Gloria Church, Byculla, said the inability to hold the mass at midnight spoils the festive mood.

Protesting against this rule, the Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP) wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week, asking for the rule to be revoked. “Sadly, this law is not followed by other communities and is given a blind eye by the authorities. The midnight service is of great importance and the sanctity of the same is lost if not held at midnight,” said the letter.