On December 24, 1969, law student Ricardo Cruz led a march of several hundred demonstrators to the newly constructed St. Basil Church in Los Angeles. The demonstrators picketed outside while midnight mass was being celebrated inside. While Los Angeles Archbishop James Francis McIntyre celebrated mass inside, the demonstrators, who were conducting a prayer vigil, were confronted by off-duty sheriffs and a Los Angeles Police Department riot squad who warned them about entering the building and disrupting the service.
As congregants inside the church sang Adeste Fideles, protesters entered the church, led by Cruz. Some protesters were arrested.