Back to church - en masse



IT seems the Christmas spirit is as strong as ever in Central Queensland with record numbers packing churches on Christmas Eve.

Catholic Bishop of Rockhampton Brian Heenan said the crowd at Saturday's 6pm mass at St Joseph's Cathedral overflowed into all three entrances.

"I've never seen so many people here, they were jamming in all the doors.''

He said similar numbers had turned out at churches across the city and the cathedral's midnight and Christmas Day masses were also well attended.

Bishop Ray Benjamin told worshippers at yesterday's 10am mass the number of people attending Christmas masses was unprecedented.

"This year the crowds at our churches have been larger than ever,'' he said.

He attributed the popularity of the mass to recent media controversy where a school principal was asked to apologise to a Yeppoon family for overusing the word Christmas. "You've never heard so much about Christmas ... it's a response from all sections of the community.''

Bishop Heenan said he hoped people took note of the Christmas message.

"We have to consciously recognise the good in the world around us and celebrate that.



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