Hyderabad: With Omicron cases being detected in Hyderabad, people are gearing up to celebrate Christmas with extra care and caution. Although there’s a sense of fear, churchgoers stated that things are looking brighter when compared to last year.
From wearing masks, sanitising the church surfaces, encouraging people to take vaccinations, and not allowing people above the age of 70 to attend gatherings, the church communities have prepared well to fight the new variant of coronavirus Fr. Valentine from the St. Joseph’s Church in Bolarum shared, “We recently had celebrations at our church to conclude the Year of St. Joseph – we had three-day special prayers, mass, games, competitions, and procession with the statue of St. Joseph on the church premises. For Christmas, the youth from our church have begun going to carol singing from house to house, and proclaiming God’s message.”
He said no one is being allowed into the church without a mask, and they have to sanitise at the gate before entering and while exiting. “The members of the church are self-disciplined and they are responsible in not allowing Covid to spread at our parish. We are going ahead with the midnight mass on Christmas as well as the New Year like each year,” he added.
Catherine Stanley from Agape Church in Chanda Nagar says that they have stopped going house-to-house for carol singing and are instead having a carol service at the church itself.
“As part of the celebrations, we organised a potluck at church and everyone brought homemade delicacies and relished them. Cultural programmes like skits and dances are not happening like how they would pre-Covid as we are not letting children gather and practice,” shared Catherine, an audiologist and speech-language pathologist at Hearing Solutions.
On the other hand, Bethel Church in Moula Ali is organising Christmas carols every evening and has even put up posters at the church premises educating people to follow Covid-19 protocols.
Rev Dr BP Samuel, the pastor, shared, “We are sanitising the entire church premises every day and everything is running smoothly. On December 19, we have a Christmas carol programme with 70-80 children from Sunday school and the youth. On Christmas Day, we have a cake-cutting event post the sermon.”