Hand Sanitiser before Holy Water, “Peace be with you” done with elbow bumps and seats had to be booked. This is what Christmas Mass looked like.
Hand Sanitiser before Holy Water, “Peace be with you” done with elbow bumps and seats had to be booked. This is what Christmas Mass looked like.

Christmas Mass unlike any other

Hand Sanitiser was offered before Holy Water, "Peace be with you" was conducted via elbow bumps and seats had to be pre-booked this morning as revellers gathered across the state for Christmas Mass.

At Brisbane's St Stephen's Cathedral, Friday's 10am service had been the culmination of a "hard year" for the church, with only a few services being performed in person since lockdown in March.

However, the biggest event of the Christian calendar was celebrated in no small fashion, with the completely booked out cathedral seeing lines of socially distanced faithful wanting to give thanks while hundreds more were watching via livestream.

People sanitising their hands to get into the Xmas service. St Stephens Cathedral Xmas service in Brisbane. Friday December 25, 2020 Picture, John Gass
People sanitising their hands to get into the Xmas service. St Stephens Cathedral Xmas service in Brisbane. Friday December 25, 2020 Picture, John Gass

Patrons had to pre-book their place otherwise they were turned away, were offered sanitiser and gloves before the service and encouraged to offer signs of peace to their surrounding peers via nods or waves instead of the normal handshake.

While the Christmas service was at half capacity of the normally 1350-strong crowd, the ability to deliver an in-person service at this time of the year was labelled as "hugely important and energising" by Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

Hand shakes at the Xmas service. St Stephens Cathedral Xmas service in Brisbane. Friday December 25, 2020 Picture, John Gass
Hand shakes at the Xmas service. St Stephens Cathedral Xmas service in Brisbane. Friday December 25, 2020 Picture, John Gass

"I was literally celebrating mass within an empty cathedral (earlier this year), and that felt weird," he said.

"It's been messy, but just to be with the crowd is hugely important and energising for us"

"People are looking for something at the end of this gruelling year, they're battered, they're weary and they're looking for something that they've earned, that's what we celebrate at Christmas."

Originally published as Brisbane Christmas Mass unlike any other


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