SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It was quite the sight on Sunday, as Old Mission Santa Barbara celebrated Easter outdoors.
Hundreds staked out spots for the largest service of the year, including UCSB student Lucia Lupotti.
“It’s Easter and I thought it would be really pretty to come watch mass at the Mission,” she said.
Mark Zerey attended the service with wife and three kids.
“We're really blessed in Santa Barbara that we can do this,” he said. “We have beautiful weather and we're happy as a community to get together."
Typically on a traditional Resurrection Sunday, the church is jam packed with people.
This time sitting in the sun, there was maybe more parishioners than ever before.
“We could have never have gotten this number of people in the church,” St. Barbara Parish pastor father Dan Lackie said. “Which only seats about 300 people.”
“It opens it up for anyone who wants to be here,” one churchgoer Elizabeth Chenoweth said. “That's the whole point."
Last year, the pandemic prevented Easter services from being celebrated in-person.
This year however, people are able to gather together to worship outdoors.
“Given what happened with Easter one year ago,” Zerey said. “We should be really grateful that we are able to celebrate."
“We watched the online masses last year but you're just not there,” Chenoweth said. “Today it’s so wonderful, we missed it.”
Although this Easter Sunday service was far from normal, it answered some people's prayers.
“We believe that when we are gathered together, christ becomes present with us in a way that's different from when we are separated,” Fr. Lackie concluded.
When Santa Barbara County reaches the orange tier, Old Mission Santa Barbara hopes to bring back some services inside its’ church.
Watch tonight on NewsChannel 3-12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.
(More information, video and pictures will be added here later today.)