NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The faithful flocked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral this Christmas Day, packing the pews, comforted they’re able to celebrate the birth of Christ with each other this year.

“To having that resemblance of community and also togetherness in this difficult time,” said parishioner Ivory Prinashanti.

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Despite the dark cloud of the Omicron variant hanging above the city, Cardinal Timothy Dolan chose to welcome back crowds at full capacity.

Parishioners young and old traveled from near and far to light a candle and receive Holy Communion, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.

“It’s beautiful and it’s also, like, I didn’t expect it to be this big,” said parishioner Aji Butro.

“We always go to Mass. We never miss a Mass,” another parishioner said.

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In his Christmas Day homily, Dolan asked worshippers to remember what the sacred day is truly about, retelling the story of how Jesus was born.

“Every Mass is a live Nativity scene as Jesus is reborn in our hearts through the gift of faith, prayer, and the most Holy Eucharist,” Dolan said.

While COVID forced some houses of worship, like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, to move services online again, families were determined not to let the pandemic get in the way of tradition.

One family stopped by St. Patrick’s to make sure their children knew the holiday wasn’t just about presents.

“Jesus of course did suffer quite a lot more than we’re suffering right now, so I think that’s a very useful thing to remember in the holiday season,” said Tribeca resident Evan Frank.

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Together they unwrapped the true meaning of Christmas.

Christina Fan