Church celebrates Mass on Facebook, drawing five times the normal number of people in the pews


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As COVID-19 spreads, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso canceled all Masses, changing the way many El Paso Catholics worshipped Sunday morning.

Cristo Rey Catholic Church.

An empty parking lot and locked church doors is not a typical Sunday morning at Cristo Rey Catholic Church in El Paso’s Lower Valley.

For the first time, the congregation didn’t walk through the doors. Instead, they listened to the sermon from their homes, thanks to technology.

“The people of God could not come to their other home, which is the church, so we wanted to make sure that their other home, the church would go to their home,” said Manny Barrios the administrator of Cristo Rey.

Empty church Sunday morning.

Father Esteban Sescon was preaching like he does every Sunday but to rows and rows of empty pews.

The congregation watched from Facebook live at home.

Throughout the sermon, more and more people joined online.

By the end, the Facebook Live event had almost 2,000 views. The church administrator said the church only holds 400 people at a time.

Cristo Rey Facebook live.

“It was pretty awesome knowing that I could wake up and somehow reconnect with our parishioners at Mass,” said Ray Perez a lifelong Cristo Rey member. “Knowing that they were online kind of gave me some comfort. Knowing that we weren’t there but we were all there in spirit.”

Not every church in the Borderland is able to do this. However, on the El Paso Diocese Facebook page, many sermons from across the Borderland can be seen.

Cristo Rey officials said if people want to make their weekly offering while mass is canceled they can text 915-800-3601 and mention Cristo Rey.

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