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COVID-19 restrictions impact Christmas Day church services

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was forced to use tickets and advanced registration for the first time ever.

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of people’s daily life, including how families are celebrating Christmas in 2020.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was forced to use tickets and advanced registration for the first time ever.

The purpose of the ticketed admission was to limit the number of people attending Christmas Day mass.

Attending mass on Christmas is a tradition for many families in the D.C. area, and also acted as a tool for others to help fill a void this year.

“It was very beautiful to be able to still celebrate in person,” MiMi Muir said.

“My sons weren’t able – I asked them not to come out of safety. So, I came here to sort of fill myself up,” Trish Earnest told WUSA9.

Parishioners believed it was necessary to be in church as they near the end of a trying year.

“The spiritual part of it, it was really special because we could, even throughout everything, we were really grateful that we could still come out and to celebrate Jesus and Christmas,” Eve Muir explained.

With capacity limits and other COVID-19 restrictions, the masses were not what you would typically expect.

“We had to sign up beforehand because, I think, only 250 people could come,” MiMi Muir said.

“They made sure everyone was far away from each other, and using hand sanitizer, and keeping their masks on,” Earnest recalled. “But it was a beautiful service.”

Churchgoers said the service left them with a message that reminds all of us to appreciate what we have and celebrate family and friends as we move forward to a new year.

“Just have faith. We need hope. We need hope that things will get better,” Earnest said.