SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Christmas Eve Mass is the revered service taking place indoors this year despite the pandemic’s final stage.
But the the state strongly recommends all parishioners, even vaccinated, to hide inside places of worship; not requiring them.
State guidelines still require masking inside churches and places of worship for those not vaccinated as of June 15, 2021.
“We wanted to follow the protocols of the State of California. But we personally found ourselves to be in good health,” said Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego. “But also, we are concerned about the health of others. So, we are doing everything we can to maintain the mask’s mandate.”
There are some like Marina Flores who did not attend Christmas Eve Mass last year. But she and her family are taking their place in the benches this year.
“Last year we weren’t sure what was going on. We were scared. And we didn’t have access to the masks like we do now,” said Flores.
While it might be a recommendation, seeing the masks especially on this holiest night is heartwarming for some.
“My mother lives with us,” said Flores. “So we want to be safe here. And knowing that people are wearing masks makes me feel like I can come back to church.”
“I think we want everyone to feel comfortable, don’t we? You know, and so, if wearing a mask is going to make the person next to me more comfortable , I am happy to be of service, ”said Brian Tsu.
A cherished service of the Catholic faith.
There is hope that all of the faithful can do all they can to make this night tender and sweet.
“So it’s a balancing act. And we’re doing our best to make sure both happen,” Bishop Dolan said. “The sense of coming together but also the sense of responsibility. “
Bishop Dolan said social distancing is not a requirement in churches at this time. But, given the spread of omicron, he said the church wants to be vigilant, adding that it tries and continues to recommend it.