This is something altogether different and, I think, rare: a parish (not a cathedral or a diocesan entity) offering web streaming of its Masses.
St. Joseph Catholic Church member Dave Fisher explains how the church’s new webcasting feature is helping a friend who has trouble hearing.
“I have a friend who is hard of hearing. She goes to Mass, then goes home and watches the webcast, turning it (volume) up until she can hear it,” he said. “These are the stories that make offering it (webcasting) wonderful.”
About two weeks ago, St. Joseph became the first church in the Peoria Diocese to begin webcasting its daily Masses. By accessing the parish website, parishioners can watch a live Mass on their computer. They can also access seven days of stored Masses through the Mass archives. In addition, funerals and weddings can be webcasted live, archived, or both.
The Rev. Tim Nolan, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, said this new technology helps parishioners who have a hard time making it to the church stay connected.
“It’s a way to better reach our homebound and those people who can’t travel to weddings and funerals,” he said.
“Webcasting is a response to the question, ‘How do you take care of people who can’t make it to Mass?” Fisher said. “Especially the elderly who helped build the church. We owe those people something.”
Webcasting helps reach what Fisher calls “medium people,” those who can get out, but aren’t as confident on snowy or rainy days. Mothers at home with sick children could also watch a webcast instead of missing church. “It’s an outreach to our parishioners and hopefully others. We are trying to find people where they are and be what we can be.”
Fisher, who manages the technological aspects of webcasting, said it also allows people to revisit a Mass. “We have people who want to hear a sermon again, especially if the sermon really touched you. It’s a great way to go back and review it,” he said.
Father Nolan has already had a positive response the webcasted funerals. “We have heard from families about how grateful they are for this,” he said. The first webcasted wedding is planned for September.
I suspect we’ll be seeing more of this. Does anyone know of any other parishes who have undertaken webcasts? I’d love to hear how it’s going.