ROCKVILLE CENTRE - Amid the usual Christmas activities, like opening gifts and spending time with family, thousands of Long Islanders marked the holiday with prayer.

Parishioners packed into St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre to listen to the angelic voices of the Parish Choir of Men and Boys at a Christmas Day Mass.

Bishop William Murphy spoke about the importance of religious tolerance and asked everyone to remember those who are being persecuted for their beliefs in places like Iraq and China.

"We need always to have a sense of solidarity to everyone suffering, no matter who they are," he said.

Churchgoer Teresa Truncale says while Santa Claus is an important part of Christmas, the holiday is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and helping those who are less fortunate.

Dina Finora agrees. She says she is trying to teach her kids about giving and keeping up family traditions.