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Ventura County outdoor worship

In Ventura County’s smallest Catholic outpost, outdoor worship comes naturally

Drive west along Highway 126 west of Santa Clarita on a Sunday morning into the town of Piru. Take a right to East Center Street, and you’ll think half the town must be gathered for Mass.

In reality, it’s about 200 mask-wearing, socially distanced, hands-sanitized parishioners who assemble outdoors for the 8:30 a.m. Spanish Mass, plus another hundred or so for the 10 a.m. English Mass, at San Salvador Mission, a tiny Catholic outpost in northeast Ventura County.

Their church, since last summer, is the garden and patio area outside the actual church building that seats around 250, but only 75 maximum in these pandemic-induced times where indoor gatherings are prohibited. So the outdoor space allows more to gather, safely, to listen to the word of God and partake of the Eucharist.

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