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MIDTOWN, Manhattan — It’s a Christmas Eve tradition for many: stopping by St. Patrick’s Cathedral to light a candle before midnight mass.

But the line was so long outside Friday, many couldn’t get in.

But for 2,500 lucky ticketholders, midnight mass was back and in-person after a two-year pause. The mass will be full capacity and standing room only.

“We’re ready to welcome a crowd,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.

The cardinal told those who felt sick to stay home, however.

The cardinal said once the mass procession passes the back of the cathedral, the church may open its doors to let others in. The archdiocese won’t be checking the vaccination status of those attending mass, but there will be a socially distant section for those who are unvaccinated to sit in.

Cardinal Dolan said the mass is an opportunity for people to come together as a family.

“You can watch it … but there’s nothing like being here,” he said.