LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic is shaping how churches are celebrating Christmas mass this holiday and the Catholic Church has taken steps to protect its parishioners while they were worshiping tonight in the Las Vegas valley.
At the Guardian Angel Cathedral, parishioners who wanted to celebrate their faith this Christmas Eve had a temperature checks and were required to wear face masks and also to follow social distancing rules.
Bishop George Leo Thomas said that other steps have also been taken for months to protect everyone’s health, including the elderly and people at risk.
“We are no longer doing the communion on the cup, the church space is completely disinfected between masses, and the good thing is that the people have grown used to this. They been so, so cooperative, really no push back at all on this, “ said The Bishop.
For parishioners, it’s more than just attending mass or being close to other people. It's about living their faith despite the chaos and changes that this year has brought on everyone. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still strong in our community, their faith in God is stronger.
"The church did a great job, all of us are really separated 6 feet apart or more and all the pulpits are individually separated. We’re not worried about COVID-19 because we have faith…It’s really special and to be able to celebrate anywhere in the world, you can be in the comfort of your home, if you cannot come here, but still celebrate the mass, don't let the COVID stop you for doing what is important, “ said Martha Jonkhans, who attended mass with her son.
The Diocese of Las Vegas has also seen an increase in attendance after temples were allowed to be at 25% capacity.
“People are just glad to be here. I also i feel like we got an early Christmas gift by being able to have such large numbers coming to us. 25% capacity to bring this up to two or sometimes three hundred people in some of our larger parishes, so is a significant jump and a very significant change for us, so i thank it to the 9th Circuit for that,“ shared Bishop Thomas.
Changes that may stay her for a while just as the need of a community united in faith.
If you cannot attend mass in-person, you can still be part of it online. The Diocese has been streaming masses since the beginning of this pandemic and this Christmas won't be the exception.
Either in person or online, the Christmas spirit lives within the Catholic community of the Las Vegas valley and will continue throughout the rest of the year.