With Safety Guidelines in Place, Boston Churches Prepare for Christmas Masses

The Archdiocese of Boston is getting ready for Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas, reminding the public that things will be different this year during the coronavirus pandemic

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At St. Brigid Church in Boston, Christmas is still a go, despite rising COVID-19 numbers.

Still, the Archdiocese of Boston wants to make sure people are safe.

"The pandemic has brought too many people a sense of need for God in their lives. That's why this Christmas is so important," said Rev. Robert Casey, pastor at St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven, both in South Boston.

The Archdiocese is changing the way the holiday is celebrated. Cardinal Seán O'Malley says this year will be different.

"Christmas Masses are taking place with safety guidelines and fewer people in the churches," he said.

The cardinal says parishes are adding services to accommodate more people in-person. Masses will be on TV and online on Christmas and Christmas Eve.

"I would urge all of you who'll be watching Mass on television to participate fully and to make it a truly sacred event in your life," O'Malley said. "No pajamas and coffee mugs."

Casey says seven Masses are planned for Christmas Eve at his two parishes. People will have to register to attend as they try to keep occupancy at 20%.

He estimates 50% of his flock has been watching Mass at home since the pandemic. He does think they'll return to the pews when it ends.

"The people will come back. Some will still watch online. But most people will come back because the Eucharist is central to our faith," Casey said.

O'Malley suggests people check parish websites, especially if registering to attend Mass is a requirement.

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