Dubai: Elegance, melody and piety marked Jesus Christ’s nativity celebrations at UAE’s churches where midnight mass was held to mark Christmas.
In Dubai, a strong crowd of 25,000 ushered in a beautiful Christmas to the melodious nativity songs sung by a multinational choir on the grounds of St Mary’s Church.
It was a reaffirmation of hope and faith as thousands stood patiently for hours to the welcome the birth of Jesus Christ. At the stroke of midnight the birth of Christ was ushered in with ringing of bells and singing of the hymn: ‘Silent night holy night ...
Father Lenny Connelly, parish priest of St Mary’s Church who led the service, in his sermon expressed the joy and happiness of multitudes of Catholics in Dubai who await the arrival of Pope Francis in the forthcoming year of Tolerance. He thanked the rulers of UAE for their magnanimity and hospitality.
Father Connelly talked about the paradox of peace. “Christ is called Prince of Peace and yet his life was surrounded by violence in different forms such as poverty, disease, betrayals, discrimination and death. This is a message to us that peace comes in the midst of all these troubles, troubles leaven up peace. Let us pray for lasting peace which will truly be complete with the resurrection of Christ.”
A strong multinational crowd of people representing the Far East and countries of the Indian subcontinent stood before the grotto on the church grounds listening in rapt attention to the sermon.
George and Anita Fernandes from Mangalore, who have been residents of Dubai for 17 years and have been coming every Christmas to the St Mary’s Church, told Gulf News: “We haven’t missed a single Christmas service since we came to Dubai. We feel blessed to be able to celebrate the birth of Christ our saviour with the entire community. It is an empowering feeling.”
Jacky Lou Caesar, a sales and marketing professional who hails from Cebu, Philippines, felt nostalgic standing on the Church grounds. “I have been in Dubai for eight years and have come to Church during Christmas celebrations the first time. The beautiful lights and decorations are just like back home and I feel so happy to be here.”
Rashen Isaac, 10, from Sri Lanka, a fifth grader from the Gulf Indian High School just felt happy to be celebrating the Christmas at the church with his parents Ranjan and Nadeera. “It feels so good to stand with others and pray. I have asked Santa for a special gift of a book. I love to be here with my parents,” said Isaac.
People from different nations, cultures and races sang nativity hymns and reaffirmed their faith in Christ as they refreshed their belief in Jesus Christ and the spirit of Yuletide.