NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Christians in New York City marked one of the most important holy days of the year with Christmas Day Mass.

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Timothy Cardinal Dolan offered his Christmas Day blessing for standing room-only crowds throughout the day.

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“We all want to be home for Christmas and in a real way, this is the spiritual home for Catholics in the United States,” Dolan told worshippers.

Dolan delivered a message of hope, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported, just in time for locals healing during a difficult time: The wake of superstorm Sandy and aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

“Today, finally, it doesn’t happen enough — bells will chime with joy rather than toll somberly, as has so often happened the past weeks,” said Dolan.

Dolan also offered Midnight Mass to the faithful.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were among those in attendance.

Music from the choir filled the church, and so did faithful parishioners from around the world.

“I live in San Juan, Puerto Rico,” said Diana Gonzalez. “Yes, I came all the way, and I got my tickets for this special mass since September.”

“It’s beautiful, it’s nice… really beautiful,” Joseph Adarentos told Jiang. Adarentos traveled from the Phillipines to be here.

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“Even if you’re not going church-goers, you to come here and just take a moment to reflect and be quiet,” Helen Dean told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. Dean is in town from England. She told Haskell she can’t stop thinking about the victims in Newtown.

“I work in  a school with children the same age and I just can’t imagine what they must have gone through, and the teachers that were trying to save them,” Dean said.

“It puts things into perspective,” said Patty Wolstein. “It kind of stops you in your tracks and you become grateful for what you have.”

People of all religions packed the cathedral to pray, light candles and marvel at the creche.

The cardinal spent Christmas Eve with a group of very ill children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House on the Upper East Side.

Bobbi Kuhl and her son Brandon came from Washington State. Brandon recently had a tumor removed from his spine.

“Well, we are 3,000 miles from home, and we feel at home, so it is wonderful,” Bobbi Kuhl said.

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