Emmanuel Church of the Deaf holds Christmas mass in American Sign Language

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Christmas church services were held all over Rochester on Sunday, including at the Emmanuel Church of the Deaf in St. Monica Church on Genesee Street.

It’s the deaf Catholic church, part of the Diocese of Rochester. Mass was delivered in American Sign Language with a voice interpreter for hearing guests.

Faith leaders say the message behind a mass for both deaf and hearing worshipers is simple.

“We all need Christmas. No matter who we are, what age we are, what’s going on in our lives. We all need Christmas,” said Rev. Raymond Fleming of the Emmanuel Church of the Deaf.

Rochester has one of the country’s largest deaf and hard-of-hearing populations, with around 45,000 deaf or hard-of-hearing residents.