Unlike previous years, the Christmas celebration this year, affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, is going to be quite different across the world, including the UAE.
Christmas, the greatest festival of Christians, won’t go uncelebrated in the UAE, but, the people are instructed to stick with the precautionary disciplines against coronavirus while celebrating. Most of the churches are holding online Christmas services, while some churches have been permitted to conduct physical mass services following Covid-19 precautionary guidelines.
The churches in Dubai, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Church, will not conduct face-to-face mass services, however, all Christmas services will be organized virtually.
Fr. Lennie J. A. Connully OFM Cap, Parish Priest at St. Mary’s Church informed, via an announcement on the church’s website, that there will be two online masses on Christmas day at 6:30 am and 7 pm, local time. Regarding the suspension of physical masses, he said, “I know you will be disappointed. But take it in the spirit of Christmas, ‘Peace to men of Good Will’. I beg your kind understanding in the development and cooperation humbly solicited.” He also urged parishioners not to go to the church as people are not allowed to pray outside the gate, along the church wall, or facing the church or grotto.
Similarly, Holy Trinity Church will conduct an online mass service on Christmas day at 9:30 am. However, Mar Thoma Church Dubai said that they will conduct a physical mass at 7 am but under the strict Covid-19 precautionary measures.
The churches are urged to follow some guidelines if they are to organize physical mass service. The guidelines are:
- All those who participate in the physical mass service should have taken the PCR test within 96 hours of the service.
- All attendants should have the Al Hosn app on their phones which will show the test results.
- Registration is required to attend the service.
- Those above 50 years and below 12 years are not allowed to participate.
- Holy Communion service is prohibited
- All those who serve in the church are also required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of the function they serve.
St. Micheal’s Church, in Sharjah, will conduct face-to-face Christmas services, but those above 60 years and below 12 years, and pregnant women are restricted to enter the church.
In Abu Dhabi, St. Joseph’s Cathedral will hold Christmas masses which require registration at least 24 hours prior to the mass timing. The Christmas services will be held in St. Andrew’s Church too, however, it is said that the booking of the services is already filled up. Also, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, in Ras Al Khaimah, is conducting the mass services without the need of any prior registration.
UAE Rulers Wish – Merry Christmas.
On the occasion of the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates have expressed their messages and wishes to the Christians in the world.
Writing on Twitter on Christmas Eve, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, “Congratulations to all Christians in the world on Christmas.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also tweeted, “We would like to wish all of our Christian brothers and sisters in the UAE and around the world a peaceful and Merry Christmas.”
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