The pulpit moved to the parking lot Sunday when a San Gabriel Valley church adhered to social distancing guidelines, but still allowed worshippers to gather for Mass.
Borrowing a page from the drive-in movie theater model, worshippers stayed in their cars in the parking lot of Church of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and listened to the Sunday service. The alternative church service setting in Altadena was organized after guidelines that limit the number of people who can gather in one place, part of an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
"This is the new normal that we have," said the the Rev. Modesto Pérez.
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Recognizing the dire health situation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles dispensed worshippers from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass for the weekends of March 14-15, 12-22 and 28-29. Pews were relatively empty for Mass at downtown LA Our Lady of Angels cathedral, and those who attended sat far apart.
At Saint Elizabeth, dozens of parked parishioners attended Sunday’s parking lot mass.
“It seems right,” said José Solorio, who was at the service on a cloudy Sunday morning. “I think that in the future they should do more masses like this because, in any case, we feel the need to attend mass and this is fine.”
The church took other precautionary measures, such as dispensing with the greeting of the peace and changes to communion. The church also reduced the number of services.