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My brothers and sisters,

Having consulted with our parish leadership and medical professionals, it is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that we must cancel our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses.

I realize that this is at the last moment, and for that I apologize. There are several reasons for doing so. 

1) When Visitation initially offered the Christmas in-person masses, I had no idea of how many people would attend, but thought it would be a bit more than our usual Sunday attendance of 60 people. Instead, we now have more than 300 people registered for Christmas Eve and over 100 for Christmas Day. With so many people present, it would be statistically impossible for the virus NOT to be present at the mass. As we all know, over these past few weeks, the presence of the Coronavirus has increased dramatically. Even though we would be outdoors and socially distanced, I cannot take the risk of inadvertently creating a “super spreader event" such as the mass might become. I would consider it irresponsible of me if not reckless to take a chance with any of my parishioners lives. If anything ha ppened to you, I would never forgive myself. 

2) I am likewise concerned for our priests. All the priests have underlying health conditions; if any of us were to fall ill, it would be very risky and would lead to the complete shut down of the parish. I do not want that for our priests or our church.

3) I had hoped that we could offer “drive though” communion after our online masses. Unfortunatel y, that is no longer possible

4) Because of the alarming increase of the virus all over Los Angeles, I am suspending all masses and confessions for the rest of December and the month of January. We will continue to offer daily and Sunday masses online as we did back at the beginning of the pandemic, but will suspend in-person services for the time being. We can assess the situation at the end of January to see the viability of starting in-person services again.

Again, I know this is sudden notice. It pains me to have to tell you this as I know Christmas mass is such a strong tradition in our church and in your families. I encourage you to attend our online Christmas Eve mass at 4:00 PM and Christmas Day mass at 9:30 AM. Our team is putting together what I think will be a wonderful celebration of our Lord’s birth. 

Join us for that online service at visitationchurch-la.com

My prayers are with you all and I ask that yours be with me.

Fr. Jim


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