Prayers for victim mark Christmas in capital

Christmas was celebrated with fervour and a spirit of togetherness in Delhi on Tuesday, while prayers prayers were also offered for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim battling for life in hospital.

Thousands flocked churches to pray for peace, well-being and amity at the various churches in the capital. The mood of the celebration was a mix of revelry and fervour.

At the ornately decorated Sacred Heart Cathedral near Connaught Place, in the heart of the capital, people came in hordes - bundled in woolens and wearing bright smiles - to pray and celebrate the festival.

Father J. Rebello of Sacred Heart Cathedral said, ‘People are not here just for celebrating, but many of them here are actually praying for the girl who is fighting with all her spirit in the hospital.’ After the prayers in the morning, elaborate lunches were prepared in homes, bringing together friends and family.

‘Christianity, as a faith draws the young in India because of its values of service and non-dogmatic practices,’ said 30-year-old Rosemary Thomas.

A six hour film on Jesus called ‘Christiyan’ made by the Delhi diocese was screened at the Sacred Heart Church. Christmas was celebrated peacefully despite the ongoing protest by hundreds who are demanding justice to the rape victim and tougher laws to deal with rapists. However, many also prayed for the 23-year-old victim who was gang-raped on 16 December.

‘On this Christmas day we go to church to attend the Christmas mass, and this mass is very special for us. We pray and share our joys on this sacred day,’ said Merin Cherian.

‘This is a holy day for us as Jesus, the holy lord was born this day. We make beautiful cribs inside the church and wear new clothes, and the cakes are so delicious. It is the time for us to celebrate,’ she added.

‘But many of us youngsters also offered prayed for the young woman who is still in a critical condition in a city hospital,’ she said.
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