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The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles held Christmas Mass indoor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with a much smaller crowd this year.
Priests wore face masks, choirs were replaced by a lone singer and no more than 130 people were permitted in an area that can seat 3,000.
Attendees also wore masks and sat far apart to follow physical distancing guidelines. All Masses were live-streamed for others who opted not to attend in person.
L.A. County, which has accounted for a third of all coronavirus cases in the state and nearly 40% of deaths, urged people to avoid attending indoor religious services, even though recent court rulings led the county to reverse its ban on indoor worship.
“No matter what a Superior Court judge says and given what’s happening now, it is simply too risky to gather indoors with other people who do not live with you,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
And while the L.A. archdiocese was permitting limited indoor services, it also urged churches to avoid them in favor of outdoor or online services.
Parishioners kept social distance even when taking communion, receiving it at arms’ length from clergy members. An officiating priest urged people “never to lose hope, never to be discouraged” despite the pandemic.
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