BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Around the world, millions of people typically start their Christmas by attending a Christmas Eve mass. But due to the pandemic and restrictions that will change this year.
Many churches have had to cancel services completely but there are a handful that will continue with the traditional mass. 23ABC spoke to Deacon David Rodriguez with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church who said his church will hold mass but will do so outdoors.
Rodriguez said heaters will be set up but those attending are asked to bring their own chairs, blankets, jackets, gloves, and of course masks.
"Families have been disrupted. Spiritual lives have been disrupted. As well as school and a lot of people's 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."
Rodriguez said despite the mass being held outdoors he still expects several hundred people showing up for services.
There will be three services Thursday. Outdoor services will be at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. There will be a 10 p.m. service Thursday night but that will be streamed online. On Christmas Day there will be services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Those will also be outdoors.
A couple of other churches in town will also be holding outdoor services Thursday. Our Lady of Perpetual Help will have services at 2 p.m. and 3:30 pm. And Canyon Hills Assembly of God will have mass Thursday night at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
And while the majority of churches across California have to keep services outdoors churches in Los Angeles County can actually take things back inside.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department issued an order earlier this week that allows churches to hold services inside provided that quote "strict physical distancing is followed." Face coverings must also be worn.
The order does say that places of worship are still strongly encouraged to continue to hold services outdoors.