Dubai: Tens of thousands of parishioners attending the Holy Week masses from Thursday to Sunday at St Mary’s Catholic Church have been urged to avoid carrying big bags and sharp objects as part of the beefed up security at church.

A crowd of up to 100,000 faithful are expected to descend on the Catholic Church on Oud Metha for the Holy Week services to mark the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as stated in the Bible.

To better manage crowds in the compound, parishioners have been urged to avoid carrying bags and lunch boxes with cutlery to church this weekend.

“This was the instruction of the Dubai Police. Don’t carry big bags as we will have to check it. Don’t bring sharp instruments, lighters, scissors which is similar to what we do at airports as part of security,” Fr. Lennie J A Connully, parish priest at St. Mary’s Church, told Gulf News.

“We can’t predict the crowd here because it will be a huge crowd as usual. The crowd is not a big problem because we have the crowd management system here. The crowd does not come altogether for one service. It is staggered. People come in smaller number of maybe below 10,000 for each hour of mass. They have 15 minutes to go out, and we allot another 15 minutes for the next batch of parishioners to come in.”

St. Mary’s Church will hold nine masses on Good Friday (April 19) starting at 5am in Malayalam, followed by masses in Tamil, Konkani, Urdu, Singhalese, Filipino, English and Arabic.

The vigil masses will begin at 3pm on Saturday while eight masses in English and one in Arabic will be held beginning 5.30am on Easter Sunday.