For El Paso Catholics, one of the hardest parts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the lockdown of churches and the inability to attend Mass. There has not only been no Sunday Masses since the beginning of the pandemic, El Paso faithful have missed out on Easter Sunday Mass and it looked like they would also miss out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses as well. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon however.

On Tuesday, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz said that he will allow Mass to happen this Christmas Eve, but only on a limited basis. According to a local news station, the Bishop said:

"The danger of the presence of this virus in the El Paso community is still of great concern. This is not a time for the El Paso community to let its guard down, but the diocese believes that if cases continue their decline, the diocese can safely relax restrictions."

Don't run right out and grab the familia to head off to Mass. There are restrictions that will be in place. Churches will only be allowed to open for Masses at 25% capacity. Churches will have to follow disinfection and social distancing guidelines that have been put in place by the diocese. Other guidelines will remain in place, namely, no funeral services and or weddings will be allowed at this time. Confessions will still be allowed to be heard but only after an appointment is scheduled, and only by calling your individual church.

You can attend Midnight Mass even though there is a curfew in place by the order of the El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. Bishop Seitz said he spoke with the Judge's office and people who are attending Mass during the curfew hours are exempt. Make sure you call your individual church to find out if they are offering Christmas Masses.

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