SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Christmas Eve Mass is the revered service happening indoors this year despite the latest pandemic stage.
But the state's highly recommending all parishioners, even those who are vaccinated, to mask up inside places of worship; not requiring them.
State guidelines still require masking inside churches and places of worship for those who are unvaccinated as of June 15, 2021.
"We wanted to follow the protocols of the State of California. But we have recognized ourselves personally healthy,” Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan of Catholic Diocese of San Diego said. “But also, we're concerned about the health of others. So, we're doing whatever we can to maintain the mask mandate."
There are some like Marina Flores who didn't attend Christmas Eve mass last year. But she and her family are taking their place in pews this year.
"Last year we weren't sure what was going on. We were scared. And, we didn't have access to the masks like we do now,” Flores said.
While it might be a recommendation, seeing the masks especially on this holiest of nights is comforting for some.
"My mom lives with us," Flores said. "So, we want to be safe for here. And to know that people are wearing masks, makes me feel like I can come to church again."
"I think we want everybody to feel comfortable, right? You know, and so, if wearing a mask is going to make the person next to me feel more comfortable, I'm happy to oblige,” Brian Tsu said.
A cherished service of the Catholic faith.
There's hope that all churchgoers can do whatever to make they can this night tender and mild.
"So, it's a balancing act. And we're trying our best to make sure both are happening," Bishop Dolan said. "A sense of gathering but also with a sense of responsibility.”
Bishop Dolan said social distancing isn't a requirement in churches at this time. But, giving the spread of omicron, he said the church wants to be vigilant adding that it tries and continues to recommend it.