Thousands pack Christmas Eve Mass in new Raleigh cathedral

Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on Christmas Eve. Photo by Derrick Lewis/CBS North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thousands of parishioners gathered at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral for the first Christmas Eve Mass in the new church.

The church holds more than 2,000 people and Sunday, for the evening mass, it was standing room only.

Although there’s more space at the new church for old Sacred Heart parishioners, the church still ran out of room.

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During the 5 p.m mass, all the pews and some aisles were packed.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” said Gayle Dworkin, a parishioner. “We’ve been here before. But, it’s beautiful.”

People enjoyed the extra room, including the high ceilings.

“It makes you feel more like you’re actually in church,” said Jeff Dworkin, another parishioner. “It’s beautiful. You look up and you think, up like the Heavens.”

“Everyone is so grateful and they love this prayer place,” said Father Justin Kerber. “They love coming here, the beauty of the building, it kind of lifts your spirits to God.”

Kerber says more than 3,000 people attended the 5 p.m. mass.

Even the little ones knew why they came. “We wanted to come here for Christmas,” said one child.

“God loved us so much he sent his son,” said Kerber. “A little baby reaches out from the wooded manger, and then he’s going to reach out from the wood of the cross to redeem us and bring us to Him. So, I think they all came to celebrate that.”

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