Thoughts on Live-streamed Mass

Yesterday, Sunday, the University Catholic Center live-streamed our first Sunday Mass. We’ve cobbled together a simple way of streaming to Facebook, basically using just an iPhone. Over the next few days we’ll be looking at ways to improve the quality of the audio and video. What we’re doing now is basic and workable.

While Fr. Jimmy was preaching and presiding, I was monitoring the camera and the FB feed to make sure things didn’t go awry. And mostly they didn’t. But because I was watching the live feed, I got to see the notifications when someone started watching, and when they posted a comment or clicked a react icon. We had about 150 people consistently through the whole Mass. I saw people post little shout-outs to their friends, express their gratitude for the chance to come together for prayer, and click those little hearts and thumbs-up icons like murmured “amens.”

In times of isolation, we really need to maintain whatever connections we can. For our resident community (which is what we call our non-student parishioners) who usually only see each other on Sunday, there was a feeling of relief that they could once again pray together, while simultaneously feeling the reality of our pandemic-induced physical distancing.

We put together a PDF worship aid to help people follow along and sing with us. Was anybody singing out there? I was able to fulfill my life-long ambition to be a backup singer. Thanks, Benjamin! 🙂

I know people are feeling the weight of our imposed Eucharistic fast. The Church calls the Eucharist the source and summit of our faith, and it’s difficult— even during Lent— to feel disconnected from the source, and unable to reach the summit. But we’re rediscovering that there are lots of different kinds of communion, and many ways to feel a part of the Body of Christ. That’s not a bad thing.

For myself, I’m realizing how much I miss seeing everyone in person. A campus ministry center is very different from most parishes. Many of our “parishioners” spend hours every day in our building, and I’m accustomed to hearing and seeing the place buzzing with activity. And now it’s so quiet.

But if you have the time, please join us for Mass online at 12:05 EDT, at our Facebook Page. It will be good to know you’re there. And click those little react icons. Amen.