KARACHI, Dec 23: Midnight masses will be organized in all the city churches late on Saturday evening marking the beginning of Christmas celebrations. The central congregation of the Roman Catholics will be held at the St Patrick’s Cathedral and Archbishop Evarist Pinto and Fr Joe D’Mello will lead the bilingual mass at midnight. The programme will begin at around 11pm.

The central congregation of the Protestants will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the carol singing by the candlelight will begin on Saturday night at 10pm. The Holy Communion in English, to be led by Bishop Sadiq Daniel, who will be assisted by Rev Shahid Sabir, will begin at 10.30pm, and the Holy Communion in Urdu, to be led by Rev Tak Kyun Kim, who will be assisted by Rev Azarul Qamar, will begin at 11.45pm.

On the Christmas day, four masses will be held at the St Patrick’s Cathedral. Three will be held in the morning at 7am, 8.30am and 10am, while the fourth mass, in Urdu, will be held at 5pm.

On Sunday, two masses will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The family communion with carols will be held in the morning (9.30am) in English and prayers will be led by Bishop Sadiq Daniel who will be assisted by Rev Shahid Sabir. The Holy Communion in Urdu, led by Bishop Sadiq Daniel and assisted by Revs Tak Kyun Kim and Azarul Qamar, will be held at 11am.

With Christmas just a day away, festivities seem to have engulfed churches as well as localities such as Saddar, Essa Nagri, Paharganj, etc where Christians live in sizeable numbers as the minority community members were doing last minute preparations to celebrate their most important annual festival — birth anniversary of Jesus Christ.

The Christian localities have been illuminated and decorative lights and buntings have been put on the houses and churches to celebrate the occasion.

Many shops in Saddar, had set up additional counters to sell Christmas related material like miniature Christmas trees, buntings, decorative material.

A number of bakeries have also prepared Christmas cakes, while almost all the major hotels in the city have displayed highly illuminated and beautifully decorated Christmas trees and miniature models of Santa Claus, wearing his trademark red uniform and carrying huge bag filled with gifts for children.

Radio and television channels have also announced to broadcast special programmes to highlight the occasion.

JAIL CELEBRATION: A Christmas function is being organized in the Special Prison for Women by noted artist and social worker Jimmy Engineer on Saturday morning (11am). Music show etc will be held to entertain the over 200 women prisoners, over one-third of the inmates are foreigners and an overwhelming majority of whom are African Christians.

Meanwhile, Sindh Home Minister Rauf Siddiqui ordered stringent security arrangements across the province on the eve of Christmas and increased patrolling of law enforcers around churches, cathedrals and Christian localities.