The disruptions caused by the coronavirus have affected every facet of daily life, among them the suspension of Mass at parishes throughout the Diocese of Wilmington. One diocesan priest, however, said his parishioners were hungering for the Mass, so he is bringing it to them.
Father Brian Lewis, the administrator of St. Benedict in Ridgely, Md., and its mission church, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in neighboring Denton, launched the “Godcast with Father Lewis” on YouTube on March 18. The channel had reached 80 subscribers by the middle of March 19.
“The idea came from the Holy Spirit,” Father Lewis said. “The great need for the Holy Eucharist and the Mass is so essential to our life.”
God intends for us to be together in communion, he said, realizing that he could reach his parishioners — and people around the diocese and the world — through technology. After an introductory video on March 18, Father Lewis streamed a Mass celebrating St. Cyril of Jerusalem later that day. On March 19, he also streamed Eucharistic adoration for an hour.
His intention is to upload a Mass every day, including on weekends, so people won’t feel alone and abandoned.
The Godcast was announced on St. Benedict’s website and Facebook page, but friends and family members soon started spreading the word.
“They’re doing the rest, I suppose. I just want my parishioners to know that their administrator loves them, cares for them in this time when I can’t see them face to face,” he said.
In a time away from our community and friends and family, “we need who can truly unite us, and that is Jesus Christ.”
St. Benedict and St. Elizabeth of Hungary are not the only churches where Masses are being streamed. St. John the Baptist Church in Newark is live-streaming Mass daily on its Facebook page. The stream begins at 8 a.m. Monday-Saturday, and the Sunday Mass is at 10 a.m. Salesianum School has several streams available on its Vimeo page; the latest Mass, which was celebrated at the school, was posted today and celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph. Salesianum’s live-streaming schedule is available at its Vimeo site, and the school generally announces those in advance through its Twitter feed.
Father Lewis has heard from parishioners who are appreciative of his efforts. His intention is to keep going with the uploads until people are back in his churches. Father Lewis noted that he is no technical wizard, and he is no Bishop Robert Barron, who is a familiar face on television and online.
But, just as Jesus commanded Peter to go out to the deep waters, Father Lewis said, “Christ has told me to go out to deep waters. This is completely out of my comfort zone.”