BHUBANESWAR: Christmas celebrations across churches in the city were muted and prayers held in virtual mode to prevent crowding of the premises on Saturday.
The Church of Christ (Union Church) at Lokseva Marg did not open its gate to the worshippers citing that it would be difficult on the part of the church administration in handling the crowd. Instead, it switched to online celebrations and live streamed Christmas mass on YouTube for the second consecutive year.
“Given the gathering limit of 50 persons at any point of time, it would have been extremely difficult on our part to manage the crowd, as close to 1,000 people attend the holy mass in our church in each sitting,” said one of the members of the church administration.
Vincent’s Catholic Church, Satyanagar also stopped entry of worshippers after 12.30 pm. Father Ajaya Sabhasundar said they also had to keep the midnight mass prayer low-key and reschedule it to Friday evening following the State government’s restriction on Christmas and New Year celebration in view of Omicron.
The BMC had made provision for rapid antigen tests in the churches that had remained open on the day. People testing negative were allowed to enter the churches.