ANDHRA PRADESH

Huge congregations mark Christmas celebrations

CELEBRATION TIME: Former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu greeting Christians during the morning mass at CSI Medak diocese Wesley Church in Hyderabad on Monday. Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

CELEBRATION TIME: Former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu greeting Christians during the morning mass at CSI Medak diocese Wesley Church in Hyderabad on Monday. Photo: Mohd. Yousuf  



Special Correspondent

Devout Christians flock to churches on the occasion and offer special prayers

HYDERABAD: Christmas was celebrated all over the State with traditional fervour and piety on Monday. Jingles of steeple bells mingled with melodious drone of Biblical hymns by huge congregations at midnight masses on Sunday/Monday to symbolically proclaim and welcome the birth of Jesus Christ this day 2006 years ago in a Bethlehem manger.

Roads to leading to churches in towns and cities were live with traffic during sleeping hours, as Christian families criss-crossed them to attend masses, braving the winter cold.

The churches, whether Catholic or Protestant, turned into instant pilgrim centres, with devotees flocking them in a steady flow for special prayers and sermons on Monday morning amidst tastefully decorated interiors surrounding massive cribs.

At major churches the congregations spilled on to the roads. Police were on guard to regulate the midnight traffic.

Archbishop's message

In the State Capital, Rt. Rev. Marampudi Joji, Hyderabad Archbishop, led the midnight prayers heralding the Christ's advent at a high mass at St. Mary's Church, where even open grounds was found to be inadequate for the crowds. Similar scenes were witnessed at Methodist, CSI Churches and St. Joseph's Cathedral, Gunfoundry. The Archbishop, in his Christmas message, asked the congregations to pray for peace in the world, especially in West Asia and in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East in India. He said the problems of the world today, such as violence, could be resolved only by following the path shown by Christ.

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