Christmas will look very different this year than in years past. Normally we welcome more than 1500 people to our two campuses at 4:00pm for Christmas Eve Masses. Obviously we can’t gather in anything close to those numbers this year. In considering the possibility of any in-person Masses this Christmas, the challenges are significant: singing is prohibited, capacity is significantly reduced, and people have to register in advance (on a day when the majority of people who attend Mass aren’t regularly connected with the church at all). All together, these restrictions create a sense of exclusion, so contrary to the spirit of Christmas and contrary to our mission as a faith community. In addition, holding multiple in-person gatherings in the midst of a worsening pandemic raises significant public health concerns.
Given this, and considering that the overwhelming majority of our community has chosen to worship online instead of in-person during this time, we’ve made the decision to host our Christmas Masses online only this year. We’ll have 2 online Christmas Eve Masses, both at 4:00pm, one from St. Joseph and one from St. Luke. Both Masses will be available to view on demand at any other time after they’ve been broadcast, either later on Christmas Eve or anytime on Christmas Day.
This is a challenge to be sure--we’d all love to be together in person for Christmas--but it also represents a great opportunity. Since we’ll be online, our capacity is unlimited and we can fully welcome everyone to join in. Our virtual doors will be wide open! Families will be able to worship together in our online campus, even if they are separated by a great distance this Christmas. We’ll have easy and fun ways to help you invite friends and neighbors to join us online this Christmas.
We’re also preparing Christmas Eve Kits, to help us feel more connected in our worship together. The kits will contain candles to light as we worship together, Christmas activities for your kids, and some other fun surprises. You can reserve your Christmas Eve Kit here and it can be picked up on the weekend of December 19/20.
Even though we’ll be worshipping from home this year, we’re committed to making this Christmas a wonderful and meaningful celebration. We hope and expect that Christmas next year will look very different from this year; but above all, we place our hope in the joy of Emmanuel, God with us, no matter where we are.