PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Large crowds filed into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Father Dennis Gill says at the first mass alone on Christmas Eve drew people from all over.

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“We had 1,300 people, parishioners and visitors, from all over,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “Not just all over the Delaware Valley, from many different parts of the country and, in fact, different parts of the world.”

He delivered this Christmas message to them: “Christ is born, and he’s born within us and for us,” Father Gill says, “and so it’s possible for us to be like him in the way we live our Christian lives.”

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Father Gill calls Christmas a very special time of the year.

“I think Christians need to be reassured that the Christian life is possible, and the world needs witnesses to the Christian life and the birth of Jesus calls us to that,” he said.

He encourages everyone to join them for Christmas Mass.

“This is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” he says. “It’s everyone’s home for Christmas and I’m just so happy so many people choose to come to the cathedral to celebrate Christmas.”

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Between Christmas Eve and Christmas afternoon, seven masses are scheduled at the Cathedral, including a midnight mass.