BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Of course, in 2020 fashion, Christmas Eve mass here in Bakersfield will look much different Thursday than in previous years. Some churches have decided to cancel their services altogether due to the pandemic, while others are choosing to live stream services virtually.
Come Thursday, Deacon David with St. Elizabeth Catholic Church is expecting this entire outdoor area to be filled with churchgoers for their annual Christmas Eve mass.
it’s one tradition that will continue for Deacon David Rodriguez with St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, only this time, their Christmas mass won’t be inside.
“Held outside, very different as far as the ambient weather temperatures, and the conditions that were going to have to deal with the elements,” said Deacon David.
So he's urging anyone planning to attend to prepare for the cold.
“The heaters have been acquired for those who would like to attend and are somewhat hesitant. We do encourage them to bring chairs, bring blankets, jackets gloves, and a mask, of course.”
However, Rodriguez is still expecting several hundred people. As he says harsh weather has never stopped churchgoers from attending in the past.
“We were closed down and not having any services due to the heat of the summer. We had a lot of people that were wanting to attend either indoor or outdoor, and when we were given permission from the governor to allow indoor services we were full at each mass and had a waiting list,” added Rodriguez.
Under the current stay-at-home order, the California Department of Public Health says that churches and places of worship are considered essential, allowing them to hold outdoor services.
“Families have been disrupted, spiritual lives have been disrupted, as well as school and a lot of people work. So in order to have a close to traditional Christmas celebration as possible within the church is very important to a lot of parishioners.”
Also joining in on the outdoor services on Christmas Eve is Canyon Hills Assembly at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and virtually 23ABC will be partnering with Valley Baptist Church for a Christmas Eve special on our channel at 7 p.m.
But until then, Rodriguez has a message for all
“From the staff administration, I'd like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year.”