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Churches Offering Remote Services, Preregistration For Christmas Mass

BOSTON (CBS) - Many area churches are making significant preparations to safely celebrate Christmas services during the current COVID-19 surge.

At a press conference Tuesday, Cardinal Sean O'Malley urged Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston to practice safety measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"This year, Christmas will be somewhat different with concern for Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh's call for all of us to work together to protect one another from the COVID surge that's around us," Cardinal O'Malley said.

At St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Wellesley, most of the parish will be watching Christmas Mass online.

"We have a beautiful recorded Mass as well as lessons and carols and a children's pageant and so forth so we've gotten good at putting things up online," Fr. Jim Laughlin said.

Eight in person Masses will also be held with pre-registration required. Tickets will be taken at the door.

In order to social distance, Laughlin says the Church will have far fewer people in it than the 40 percent capacity limit.

"A church that can normally hold 600 is reduced to, depending on how many family units you have, more like 75 or 80," he said.

Music at live Masses will be instrumental only and windows may be open to increase airflow.

Next Level Church, a multi-site church with locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Florida, decided to go entirely virtual shortly into the pandemic. The same goes for Christmas.

"Our team did just an amazing job this year. They actually went to different locations and they actually filmed some of their favorite Christmas carols," said Pastor Roman Archer.

Archer believes the message of Christmas will come through despite the medium.

"And we're just letting people know that, just like the first Christmas there's a lot more to it than the gift wrapping and all of the pretty pictures. There's a deeper meaning to it," he said.

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