Jakarta (ANTARA) - Some eight thousand people are projected to attend the Christmas Mass at the Jakarta Cathedral on Wednesday (Dec 25), Jakarta Archdiocese spokesman Susyana Suwadie stated.

"Some eight thousand people will attend the Christmas Mass. The Cathedral holds the Christmas Mass four times, so we will be able to close at 17:00 local time," Suwadie stated at the Jakarta Cathedral on Wednesday.

Suwadie noted that the projected attendees were segregated into four masses; with as many as 800 people for the first mass at 7 a.m. local time; some 2,500 to 3,000 churchgoers for the second mass at 9 a.m. local time; and nearly three thousand devout for the third mass at 11 a.m. local time.

"The fourth mass at 5 p.m. local time will be attended by around one thousand to 1,500 people," She revealed.

She noted that in terms of security, over 250 personnel were ready to secure the area around the Jakarta Cathedral during the Christmas celebrations.

"The figure is for the Police. However, those from the military, Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), GP Ansor, and other social organizations also help to secure the Christmas Mass," she remarked.

She further expressed gratitude to all security forces and various social organizations for their assistance in ensuring that the Christmas Mass service went smoothly despite rains lashing since morning.

"We express our deepest gratitude to all military and police officers as well as friends from CSOs that have supported it," she emphasized.

Jakarta Cathedral parish head Rudi Hartoko affirmed that today's mass was held in a solemn and smooth manner as was apparent from the enthusiasm of the people, who braved the rain to be present at the church.

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"Incidentally, today it rained. However, it has been handled, so that people can take shelter in tents set up in this church," he revealed.

Tents prepared for the series of Christmas events can accommodate some three to five thousand people, so there is no need to harbor concern over the rains.

"We have prepared tents from the start to accommodate some three to five thousand people as a whole. We prepare for a series of Christmas events," Hartoko revealed.

Moreover, she pointed to fewer parking spaces being available for the Christmas celebration than the previous year, specifically at the Pasar Baru Post Office and Santa Ursula School.

"Usually, we cooperate with the Istiqlal Mosque, but since renovation is underway, we do not use the parking space at the mosque," he remarked.

Furthermore, he affirmed that people can use the free shuttle bus from the Monas parking lot to the Cathedral Church. Services are available on December 24-25, 2019, with buses departing in five-minute intervals.

Hartoko is optimistic that this year's Christmas, bearing the theme "Live as Friends for All," would highlight the message of upholding brotherhood and unity in diversity, so that Indonesians can live peacefully.

"Together, we maintain and care for our home Indonesia. The spirit of Christmas is not for ourselves, but we realize it for the sake of peace of several people in the form of love for the country," he added.

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Translator: Astrid Faidl, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2019