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WNY churches prepare for this year's Christmas mass

"To keep the mask on throughout the entire time that they’re here.”
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Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 22, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - — Church bells are ringing as many pastors in Western New York are preparing for worshippers' safety for this year's Christmas mass.

Reverend Monsignor David G. Lipuma of Our Lady of Victory National Shrine & Basilica says the church prepares for this weekend holiday.

"We asked them to wear a mask when they enter the Basilica," he says. "To keep the mask on throughout the entire time that they're here."

Lipuma says the church can hold at least one thousand people, yet he asks for those to be mindful when coming in for worship.

"Members of their own household could sit together," the pastor says. "But if they are not the same members of the same household, we ask to keep the social distance.."

Meanwhile, this year's holiday mass for St. John Baptist Church will be limited.

"Only the disciples of St. John," Chapman expresses. "We don't take walk-ins since this has happened. We have not taken new people in, we are just administering to the folks that we have here until this wave and virus passes."

The pastor of St. John says he will continue to take precautions by using a device that will help lower the chances of catching the silent killer.

"These shyocan's deactivate the virus in the air," Chapman says. "They don't kill it, they deactivate it. So you don't have the symptoms or the effects of it."

Both places of worship say they're expecting to have a good amount of people to come in for prayer.

"This time of year, I think we all need to reconnect with God and our faith," Lipuma says. "There's so much anxiety and so much uncertainty in the world so this place is really an oasis of God's love and peace."

"We've had it very safe, and we've really followed the guidelines and there's no major issues for us," Chapman says.

The Our Lady of Victory National Shrine & Basilica will have their Christmas Eve service from 4 pm, 6 pm, and midnight. Their Christmas Day service is 8 am, 10 am, and 12 pm.

St. John Baptist Church has a 9 pm and midnight service on Christmas Day.