SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Church leaders in Santa Clara County on Friday passed a message along to South Bay congregations, asking them to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe Day at home.
Health officials in Santa Clara County are urging residents to stay committed to health orders as ICU capacity at South Bay hospitals continues to shrink.READ MORE: Berkeley Police Arrest Convicted Sex Offender For Allegedly Accosting Teens, Claiming To Be Police Officer
The warning comes ahead of a religious holiday that typically attracts thousands to local Catholic churches.
Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church on East San Antonio Street in San Jose normally sees 10,000 visitors over the course of the two days of observance. This year, church officials have canceled all events and are urging everyone to stay home.
Feast Day 2020 in the South Bay is shaping to be unlike any other, and not in a good way.
“Our message today — as you see us here, leaders in our community — united to let our families know to celebrate from home this year,” said Santa Clara County public information officer Corina Herrera-Loera.
Church leaders and city officials gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to urge caution and respect for the coronavirus health order.
“We have to make sure that we’re taking care of each other. This is unlike anything that we’ve seen. So it’s one sacrifice that we’re making. So, everybody is making accommodations so that we celebrate in a very different way,” said San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco. “We’ll have different memories this year, but it will ensure many many more years to come with our loved ones.”
The county’s Latinx community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Despite making up a little under 25% of the population, according to Santa Clara County health officials, Latinos account for more than 55% of diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in the county.
Just in case worshippers show up anyway, the church has set up a drive-in area where congregants can make offerings and receive blessings.
“This celebration is very meaningful to us because of our faith. It’s very spiritual,” said parishioner Cristina Ramos.READ MORE: San Ramon Police Arrest 2 Suspects in Repeat Home Depot Tool Thefts
The message of social distancing and wearing masks at Our Lady of Guadalupe is sharp in contrast to Calvary Chapel San Jose.
Earlier this week, a judge held the church in contempt for continuing to hold indoor services in violation of the county health order.
When Pastor Mike McClure emerged from the court hearing, hundreds of supporters were there to cheer him on, with many not wearing masks.
A day later Calvary Chapel San Jose officials said the church plans to continue with indoor services.
Calvary declined an on-camera interview with KPIX 5, but a spokesperson confirmed the services listed on their website will go on as scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The website also lists a Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m.
Bishop Oscar Cantu from the Diocese of San Jose did not offer any comment on what was happening at Calvary Chapel.
“I’ll leave that between them, that church and the courts,” said Cantu.
However, he did say the Catholic church in San Jose was one of the first to shut down services.
“Because we are people of faith doesn’t eliminate what is reasonable,” said Cantu. “And so, we are absolutely concerned for the health and well being of the general public, and also of our own congregants. Because we are in an extraordinary time of pandemic, it calls for extraordinary measures.”MORE NEWS: Scott Peterson Resentenced To Life Without Parole; Laci's Mom: 'You Will Always Be Their Murderer'
Devin Fehley contributed to this story.