NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It may turn out to be one of the hottest tickets in town this holiday season. Some churches are giving out tickets for Christmas services for the very first time.

It’s just one way things have changed in the era of COVID-19, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Tuesday.

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It’s a tradition for so many families, packing into church on Christmas Eve. But this year, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, you can’t come without a ticket.

“This is the first year we’re doing it. It’s all new,” Pastor James Manos said.

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Father Manos said his church is issuing free tickets for all of its Christmas masses and they’re going quick. Capacity is limited to 100 people per service, due to coronavirus restrictions.

“The 4 o’clock mass is already closed out. We mail the tickets to their home and they must have a ticket in order to enter the church, in order for us to be safe and have social distancing and all,” Manos said.


Of course, Catholic churches are not the only ones making plans to celebrate Christmas a bit differently this year, Grymes reported.

The Cathedral Choir is used to singing inside the expansive Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side. Instead, it will be outside on the steps this Sunday performing their “Carols for the Community.”

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“Everybody who wants to come and stand out here is welcome to come and stand and sing along and enjoy,” the Rev. Clifton Daniel III said.

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The cathedral is open for people to come and pray on their own, but in-person services have not resumed yet, so Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be virtual.

“We have to know it’s only temporary. It’s not going to be forever, but for this year, this is the reality,” Daniel said.

Other churches are also adding services to accommodate more people for what still is one of the holiest times on the Christian calendar, despite whatever restrictions are in place.

“Christmas is never canceled. We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. So, it may be different, but we’re still celebrating, and that’s the important thing to remember,” Manos said.

Regardless if you’re worshipping in church or from home.

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