LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A warm Christmas day is expected for the Los Angeles area Sunday, temperature-wise and from the feelings generated by opening and enjoying presents, church services celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and family dinners.
Archbishop Jose Gomez will celebrate a 10 a.m. English-language Christmas Day Mass and a 12:30 p.m. Spanish-language Christmas Day Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
An 8 a.m. English-language Christmas Day Mass will also be celebrated. Gomez will also celebrate Christmas Day Mass at the Men’s Central Jail.
Efforts to help the homeless and financially-challenged are planned for Skid Row, Hollywood and Pasadena.
Actor Dick Van Dyke will lead hundreds of volunteers and celebrities in serving a Christmas brunch to thousands of homeless and near-homeless men, women and children at The Midnight Mission on Skid Row.
Homeless children will get to select toys of their choice and meet Santa Claus.
The Laugh Factory in Hollywood will conduct its 32nd annual free Christmas Dinner and Toy Giveaway for the underprivileged, homeless and anyone alone.
Comedians including Arsenio Hall, Dane Cook, Dom Irrera, Kevin Nealon, Tom Arnold, Paul Mooney, Paul Rodriguez and Tom Dreesen will greet and help serve guests and perform live shows following meals served at 1 p.m, 3, p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Because the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas, latkes (potato pancakes) have been added to the menu, club owner Jamie Masada said.
More than 1,000 of Hollywood’s homeless and hungry people will be provided dinner, blankets and toiletries and children will receive toys and have their pictures taken with Santa Claus at the 26th annual Christmas Dinner Project at Hollywood United Methodist Church, conducted in association with the nearby Temple Israel of Hollywood.
More than 700 homeless men, women and children, disabled and senior citizens will receive dinner and a sleeping bag from the nonprofit organization Food on Foot in the parking lot behind the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood.
Dinner-in-the-Park will be served to homeless and low-income adults, families, senior citizens and those who are alone in Pasadena’s Central Park by Union Station Homeless Services.
The National Weather Service is forecasting highs in the 70s to lower 80s.
“Christmas is a time for us to gather and spend time with our loved ones, but it is also a time to count our blessings and give back to those who may not be as fortunate,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
In his Christmas message to the community, Archbishop Gomez wrote, “I pray that this Christmas we will all open ourselves to God’s gift and allow a new spirit of generous love to be born in our hearts.”
“Jesus told us to give our love in a special way to those who have nothing they can offer us in return,” Gomez wrote. “So in this new year, let us try to have a more compassionate love for the poor, the unborn, the prisoner, the immigrant and the sick.”
Gomez also asked Catholics “to be more generous with our time, more present to others, less distracted.”
“One thing that would help — let’s try to turn off our phones and computers more often so we can really pay attention to the people we love,” Gomez said.
(©2011 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.)