Edward Cardinal Egan celebrated midnight Mass at a packed Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan early this morning.
Hundreds attended the service, including including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Mayor Ed Koch and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.
In his sermon, Egan talked about his grandfather's experiences during the Great Depression and said the country is now in a similar situation.
"We are now well into our own hard times," said Egan. "Millions upon millions are suffering greatly, and more millions are living in real fear of what lies ahead. Jobs are being lost by the thousands, in a culture in which we define ourselves by what we do for a living."
The cardinal delivers six more masses today.
Meanwhile, there are many closings and schedule changes around the city to observe the Christmas holiday.
All government offices, schools and stock markets are closed.
Banks have the option to close.
There will only be express mail delivery and only the main post office across from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan will be open.
There is no garbage or recycling pickup, or street cleaning.
Alternate-side parking rules are suspended and parking meters will not be in effect.
Subways, buses and Long Island Rail Road trains will be on a Sunday schedule, while Metro-North trains operate on a holiday schedule.