Streaming Masses

  05/11/17 06:35, by admin, Categories: Main

I went to Mass with my Mother a few weeks ago.

In Portland Maine.

At St. I forget the name of the church because it has been merged with others, which is a community of older (very older) people.

We opened the bulletin and there was a notice that the Masses are now being streamed live.

This service requires $2200 in equipment and a $150/month Internet connection. I couldn't help it - I exclaimed "$150 a month! For a church that is always crying that it needs money for heating oil or roof repairs?"

The guy behind me proudly showed me the stream on his phone. He told me the $150 was for a business class connection, because it takes a lot of bandwidth to stream video.

So I asked him if the videos are stored or do people have to watch them as the Masses are occurring. The videos aren't stored. So, if the reason you can't make it to Mass is that you have to be somewhere else, streaming the service will not allow you to see Mass anyway.

Most the parishioners are elderly. They aren't usually comfortable with terms like 'Internet', 'streaming', 'video' and 'browser'. Many of them use their mobile phones only to make calls, if they have one. Please note that I am not suggesting the elderly are not intelligent, but that some of the new technology may not interest them. These people are often on fixed incomes.

Let's think about the decision to stream Mass:

  • The intent was to make Mass available to people who can't attend. Streaming limits the distribution to those people with the technical skill to view it and the time to view the Mass as it happens. The most likely segment of the population that can do this is working adults, who are working so they can't see the service anyway if they can't get to Mass.
  • I can't even imagine who approved the cost of this. The videos could have been recorded and uploaded to YouTube for FREE.
  • It's flashy. Flashy. It's high tech. I am sure the proponents felt they were doing something great. But they didn't. They have added a significant financial burden to a parish that is already short of funds.
  • It was probably not a community project. By community project, I mean the decision and process are open to the entire parish. I'm pretty sure there is at least one person in that parish that could have guided them to a better solution. Or that the parishioners would have said NO if they had known how much it was going to cost.

The bottom line is:

The church is spending $150 a month to stream Masses to people who probably won't view them.

If your church is considering a live video stream, don't. Record the videos and post them somewhere. It can be on YouTube, it could be on your own server. It could be some other service. Give your community a chance to understand the costs and contribute their technical knowledge and skill such that you use your funds in a way that benefits the most people appropriately.

If you have just discovered that it is too expensive take action. Cancel the contract. Find a different solution. But don't waste money on stuff that doesn't do what it is supposed to do.

Finally, one of the most important parts of going to church is connecting with people. Support the faithful that come to church each week to worship and be together.

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