Christmas church services will be much different this year because of COVID-19

Celebrating Christmas: some churches going virtual, others holding in-person services

PITTSBURGH — Church celebrations for Christmas will be very different this year as COVID-19 forces many services to go virtual, while others will be held in-person but with restrictions.

For many Christians, this will be the very first Christmas in their lifetime that they don’t go to church in person. However, all the parishes 11 Investigates’ Angie Moreschi talked with said it’s more important than ever to still come together during this important holiday.

There will be no packing into crowded churches this year. That is hard for many people, including pastors.

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“This will be my first year in 46 years now that I’m not leading a worship experience,” Rev. Larry Homitsky, of Calvary United Methodist Church, said.

The historic Calvary United Methodist Church on Pittsburgh’s North Side is not holding services in person, but will livestream like so many other churches.

Staff of Calvary United Methodist Church packed worship boxes on Wednesday that will be delivered to parishioners.

“This is when we rely most on our faith,” Homitsky said. “I think it’s just more important this year than some other years we took for granted.”

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is offering in-person Masses, but with limited numbers. Only up to 50% capacity will be allowed in, depending on social distancing. Parishioners have to sign up to attend, and many are already full.

“We’ve put into place extra precautions so we would not have to close the church,” Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said. “Everybody, everybody has to wear a mask the entire time.”

Masses will also be livestreamed.

“Check out the many opportunities to livestream. Whether it’s the weather or concern about the virus or preexisting conditions, have to make a wise decision about whether to come to church or not,” Zubik said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh stopped in-person worship at its churches in mid-December due to the COVID-19 surge, but is encouraging parishioners to watch their livestream.

Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, which is Baptist, will have a special children’s Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve. It will be livestreamed at 7 p.m.

The Diocese of Greensburg will offer a streamed Mass that will also air on Channel 11. (CLICK HERE for information.)

Below are links to help find Christmas services.

Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh:

  • Stream online (CLICK HERE). Scheduled broadcasts at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 26.

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Calvary United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh:

  • Livestreams will be offered HERE and HERE.
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