Young volunteers get Pico-Union church ready for in-person services after pandemic

PICO-UNION, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A local church is re-opening its doors to parishioners this weekend for the first time since the pandemic. And thanks to the help of some young volunteers, it will be picture perfect.

From the outside, St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church is stunning. It's been serving the Pico Union community since the doors first swung open on Christmas Day, 1904. Services haven't been indoors since the pandemic began. That is about to change.

"Our community is anxious to come in. We've been celebrating our liturgies outside at the school. It's a beautiful place, beautiful place for open mass but now everybody is hungry to come back," Ramon Reyes, Deacon, St. Thomas the Apostle.

But after more than a year of being closed, the place needs some work before it opens. Among those happy to help in that effort -- members of a youth group at the church.

"We're cleaning the benches. We're trying to sweep the dust that's been left behind. Picking up and moving benches from one place to another, making room so that we can make sure that everything's accordingly separate, six feet away, so that when they open everything up, everything should be okay," said Hector Contreras.

"I just do it for my own good and the rest of the good for other people," said Gerardo Rugerio.

"So I suppose it will make me feel joyful that people would be coming here again," said Isabel Munoz.

On Sunday, these young people will be walking back into a place many of them have known for most of their lives. It's work today, worship on Sunday. As they ready their church again with open arms, there is a real since of pride.

"I do it because I'm part of this community, honestly. I do think this church is the heart and soul and we have to provide. So I really do appreciate this," said Daisy Barrios.

And the church appreciates them.

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