The blizzard of April 14-15 forced us to cancel our regular weekend Masses. I still celebrated a small weekend Mass with a few folks present. I shared it with those at home by streaming from my tablet on Facebook Live. At the time it seemed a practical way to share Mass with those who were stuck at home. People loved it — almost 400 people tuned in. Deacon candidates stranded at a retreat center watched the Mass together. So did the Spiritus team in Menasha, WI. I got this message from a grateful participant:
It felt so good and comforting and a relief not to have to miss feeling a part of the church community during the mass. I had just gotten home with a brand new baby and really needed that mass!
Since then it’s generated a lot of buzz. The Compass, our Diocesan newspaper, published a nice article last week: Spring snowstorm leads priests to offer virtual Mass for the masses. I was invited to speak about it on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air show on Wednesday, May 9. I talk for the last 12 minutes of the second hour show. You can still watch the original video on Facebook; as of this posting it’s gotten 9.7K views. And I talked about the experience in the following week’s homily: Shepherd in a Snow Storm | BP#825
I’m not entirely sure what the buzz is all about. Today’s technology makes “going live” on the internet incredibly easy to do. That particular weekend there were thousands of people who would usually have been at Mass who had nothing to do but sit on Facebook. It hit a particular need at a particular time. Is this the next wave, or just a curiosity? Let me know what you think about it, because I’m not sure what to make of it.