Mass on Demand: Parishes of Our Lady of the Way
It is with great pleasure that I would like to inform you that St Mary's has agreed to participate in a project with CathNews, a service of Church Resources, to bring Mass from North Sydney to Catholics around the world daily.
You will have some questions about this joint venture, as did the community here, when we discussed it with Luke Kenny, the CEO of Church Resources, Christine Hogan, the Publisher of CathNews and CathNews Perspectives, and their technical expert, Jason Sunn, recently. (Jason has been working with Annette Benaud from our Parish office for the installation, testing, and trial uploading from the Church's server.) Here are some FAQs for you to consider:
* What is Mass on Demand?
Church Resources partnered with the Federal Government in a program called ConnectCare. That was designed to bring technology to remote and regional aged care facilities which was previously affordable only in the large centres, and capital cities. One of the key platforms, and the last one to be delivered, is the Mass on Demand project. It has been designed to bring the Mass into aged care facilities where those who are isolated, ill,. or infirm will be able to access the Mass daily.
Church Resources has, with the assistance of their technology partner, been installing 'kits' (large screen televisions, small televisions, and the required supporting electronic equipment) into facilities such as Mercy Care at Nudgee in Brisbane (where the elderly and retied Sisters are eagerly awaiting the prospect of daily Mass), St Vincent's Health (one kit will be in the chapel of the public hospital, and another on an aged care site, as well as three Little Company of Mary aged care facilities.
* Why Mass on Demand?
Catholics in remote and regional Australia often do not have access to Mass daily. Indeed, many do not have access to it weekly. Mass on Demand means that those isolated by distance, age, or illness, can experience Mass when they want to during the day.
* Why St Mary's?
You might remember that Fr Michael Kelly, now the executive director of UCANews Agency in Bangkok, was part of our congregation for some time. He founded Church Resources and CathNews, and the organisation has ties to the parish both through location (it is within our boundaries) and personally - Fr Richard's Film and Television Office is a regular contributor to CathNews.
* What will it cost the parish?
Nothing. All the equipment has been donated by Church Resources, the maintenance is the responsibility of Church Resources' video conferencing preferred partner, and the kit will remain the property of St Mary's North Sydney.
* How will be the Mass on Demand service happen?
Every morning, the first Mass will be recorded, then uploaded to YouTube. The new Mass will overwrite the Mass from the previous day. Then, anyone who has access to YouTube can download the Mass. So not only can people in remote areas access it, but also people who are pressed for time, whose commitments do not allow for Mass daily, can also access it during a quiet time in their day, when they can focus and immerse themselves in the Mass.
* What do you have to do?
Nothing. However, you might have questions about privacy. The camera, which is already installed, is fixed on the sanctuary, and only those in the sanctuary will be filmed. There might be a question about being filmed when you come up for communion, but the priest and the acolyte will move further into the body of the Church to avoid this.
I am delighted that St Mary's is participating in this project with Church Resources and CathNews. It is exactly what Pope Benedict asked us to do in his message for World Communications Sunday on May 5 - to make a meeting place of cyber space, and to evangelise and spread the Good News there.
If you have any questions about Mass on Demand, please do not hesitate to ask me.