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Cardinal Mahony To Celebrate Last Christmas Leading Church

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Outgoing Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony and Archbishop-in-waiting Jose Gomez will celebrate several Christmas Masses Saturday, as the church prepares for a changing of the guard in Los Angeles.

Mahony, whose flock of about 4.3 million ranks as the most populous archdiocese in the nation, urged Christians to reach out to those suffering.

“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,” he wrote in his Christmas message.

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

Gomez, who will become the first Latino to head the archdiocese, is set to take over from Mahony on February 27.

At the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, Masses will be celebrated in English at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and in Spanish at 12:30 p.m. Mahony will preside at the 10 a.m. Mass, and Jose Gomez will preside at the 12:30 p.m. Mass.

Celebrities, including Dick Van Dyke, will be among the volunteers on Skid Row serving thousands of homeless patrons a Christmas brunch. A Santa’s Village will be set up for homeless and near-homeless children to pick toys of their choice and meet Santa Claus.

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.

Non-profit organization Food on Foot is providing more than 700 homeless and disabled patrons, and senior citizens, dinner 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.

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