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Prayer, Helping The Needy To Mark Christmas In The Southland

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LOS ANGELES (CBS)  — While thousands of Southern Californians will spend Christmas opening and enjoying presents, others will attend church services and help the homeless and poor Saturday to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Day Masses will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in English at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and in Spanish at 12:30 p.m.

Cardinal Roger Mahony will preside at the 10 a.m. Mass. Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez will preside at the 12:30 p.m. Mass.

In his 2010 Christmas message, Mahony wrote that “on every street, behind every other door, lives someone who is deeply disheartened, if not actually despairing,” because of “the grim economic forecast, the early onset of illness or the loss of a loved one.”

“Especially at a time such as this, we can find solace in the scriptures for the Christmas Liturgy,” Mahony wrote.

Thousands of homeless men, women and children will be fed a Christmas brunch at the Midnight Mission on Skid Row. There will also be a Santa’s Village, where homeless and near-homeless children will select toys of their choice and meet Santa Claus.

Expected volunteers will include actor Dick Van Dyke.

More than 1,000 homeless and hungry people will be provided dinner, blankets and toiletries and children will receive toys at the 25th annual Christmas Dinner Project at Hollywood United Methodist Church, conducted in association with nearby Temple Israel of Hollywood.

More than 700 homeless men women and children, disabled and senior citizens will receive dinner from the nonprofit organization Food on Foot in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. The group will also provide each of them with a new sleeping bag.

For more than 30 years, the homeless have been fed by Union Station Homeless Services of Pasadena. They also expect to hand out more than 2,000 toys to children in their Santa’s Village located in Pasadena’s Central Park.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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