By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The songs sound the same but Christmas Eve Mass has a whole new look this year.

Cars filled the parking lot of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Thursday night, all facing an alter surrounded by red poinsettias.

“We’re in our cars and last year we were inside the cathedral having mass,” Ester Cabrera said.

Even one of the oldest traditions was forced to find a new way amid the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, St. Mary’s has moved outside for drive-in church.

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“It is very different but it’s good to be here and celebrate with everybody else,” Cabrera said.

Father Davy Kavungal said they began the pandemic live streaming services online but decided to make a change.

“In my whole lifetime [of] being a priest for 24 years, this is the first time I’ve celebrated mass outside in the parking lot,” Father Kavungal said. “We decided why can’t we have mass in the parking lot? That’s why we set up the stage outside.  We do continue keep the faith alive.”

The Greater Sacramento Region is currently under the state’s three-week stay-at-home order which prohibits gatherings inside. Churches are permitted to gather outdoors only with modifications. The governor is expected to extend the order.