NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With the rousing melodies of Christmas hymns, Midnight Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Wednesday morning.

Thousands were in attendance, ringing in one of the most important days of the Christian calendar in the city’s most famous church.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan led the mass, sharing the story of Christmas, when Christians believe Jesus was born.

“Ancient oracles fulfilled, wise men summoned from afar by a star,” Dolan said. “It’s so miraculous, this mystery and message of Christmas.”

The holiday mass took place amid the scaffolding and construction in the cathedral. Dolan likened the ongoing refurbishment project to the hope of renewal that Christmas signifies with Jesus’ birth in a manger.

“With all the tools and contraptions and stones all around us, it kind of reminds us of the stable in Bethlehem, doesn’t it?” Dolan said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among those in attendance, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. It was Bloomberg and Kelly’s final mass in the church as public officials.

Dolan called the two “genuine gifts to all of us here in New York City.”

Together with the faithful, Dolan called for recognizing the meaning of the season.

“We ask for the full blessing of what Christmas promises: Joy, peace, good will and reconciliation.”

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