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Christmas celebrations around Los Angeles

12/24/2010, 7:31 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Christmas Eve will be marked in the Southland today with efforts to help the homeless and poor, a musical and dance performance and religious services honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is scheduled to join host Jennifer Love Hewitt at the Los Angeles Mission's Christmas Eve meal service and toy and coat giveaway on Skid Row. Celebrities set to volunteer include past "Dancing with the Stars'' contestants Brandy Norwood and Gilles Marini.

The 51st annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration will be held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion from 3-6 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Wristbands, which are required for entry, will be distributed beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The celebration features 24 music, dance and choral ensembles and more than 800 performers.

Actress and singer Tia Carrere and actor Fred Willard will be the hosts. The celebration will be broadcast live on KCET-TV Channel 28 and KPFK-FM (90.7) and online at KCET.org and KPFK.org.

Church services include Christmas Eve Masses set to be celebrated at 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Cardinal Roger Mahony will celebrate the midnight Mass. Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez will celebrate the 7 p.m. Mass.

In his 2010 Christmas message, Mahony wrote that "on every street, behind every other door, lives someone who is deeply disheartened, if not actually despairing,'' because of "the grim economic forecast, the early onset of illness or the loss of a loved one.''

"Especially at a time such as this, we can find solace in the scriptures for the Christmas Liturgy,'' Mahony wrote.