Christmas Mass Celebrated Outdoors Due to Pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

While midnight mass has been canceled across the county because of the regional stay-at-home order and county’s 10 p.m. curfew, those who chose to celebrate Christmas at church planned instead on taking part in outdoor, online and televised services.

Parishioners at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego told NBC 7 that they were making the best of the current circumstances and were grateful for the hard work put into making outdoor mass possible.

Pat Robell, the music director at the cathedral, was preparing for five masses Christmas Eve. He and a few others set up tents, chairs and a sound system for their outdoor services.

“Everybody’s kind of rallying and doing what we have to do to make it happen,” Robell said.

The latest mass is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. to abide by state order.

The first mass started at noon, and the windy and gloomy weather made for a chilly start to Christmas mass celebrations. Some parishioners were bundled up in jackets, scarves and beanies to keep warm. Parishioners also tried to tune out noises coming from busy downtown streets, like sirens blaring, drivers playing loud music and the sound of traffic. But, Robell said, the distractions don't take away from the focus of the Christmas celebration.   

“It’s just a privilege to be here," a local parishioner said. "It’s Christ’s birthday, and that’s the most important thing.”

Churches across the county and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego are offering mass online as well.

Also, NBC 7 is also broadcasting Christmas mass at 5 a.m. Dec. 25. Viewers can watch live or use their DVR to tape and watch later

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