There is one bright spot amongst all the Coronavirus bad news. There are some really beautiful Masses being live-streamed on Sundays and during the week!
Maybe this is a good that is coming out of the bad. Catholics around the world now have an opportunity to experience some beautiful Masses at some truly magnificent churches in other dioceses.
Additionally, Catholics who have never attended a Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF) now have that opportunity. It’s a chance for them to compare the solemnity of a traditional Latin Mass to the Novus Ordo Mass they may be used to attending.
Since all public Masses have been canceled through Easter, many parishes are live-streaming Masses.
St. John Cantius
My wife and I have been watching live-streamed Masses from St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Chicago. The Masses are being broadcast by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.
St. John Cantius offers a live streamed Ordinary Form (OF) Mass on Saturday at 5:00 pm (note that all times here are Central) and four Masses on Sunday:
- 7:30 am – Extraordinary Form Low Mass (Latin)
- 9:00 am – Ordinary Form of the Mass (English)
- 11:00 am – Ordinary Form of the Mass (Latin)
- 12:30 pm – Extraordinary Form High Mass (Latin)
All of the masses are said ad orientum.
St. John Cantius also live-streams a daily OF Mass (in English) and a daily EF Mass, as well as a daily Rosary and Vespers, and the Stations of the Cross on Fridays. (St. John Cantius had not yet posted its Holy Week schedule as of this writing.)
One very pleasant surprise was the 11:00 am Mass in Latin that featured Gregorian chant. It was very beautiful and spiritually uplifting. It made it very easy to enter into a spiritual communion.
So my wife and I will be watching the live streamed Mass from St. John Cantius for the duration of the pandemic, but we will continue to support our own parish financially. We also plan to send a donation to St. John Cantius as well.
How Not to live-stream Mass
I’d love to be able to recommend the live-streamed Mass from my parish but, much to my regret, I cannot. Parishes live-streaming or considering live-streaming might want to take note here.
My wife and I watched our parish’s first live-streamed Mass on Sunday March 15. Not once during the entire 50 minutes of the Mass did we see a shot of the beautiful large crucifix that hangs over the tabernacle in our church, a shot of the tabernacle, or even a shot of the sanctuary lamp.
The Mass did, however, feature a good 17 minutes’ worth of our two co-music directors, one on guitar and one on keyboard, playing and singing the contemporary music they like to feature at Mass. (Yes, I was so struck by the amount of time the two musicians were on camera that I actually re-watched the recorded Mass with a stop watch in my hand.)
The second live-streamed mass from our parish was more of the same.
Here’s the thing. The Sacrifice of the Mass should not be an occasion for a musical performance. While the singer is singing show the sanctuary, the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp, the chalice and paten, the Book of the Gospels, or even the cruets. Or if your church still has statues and stained glass windows, feature shots of these. Don’t focus on the singers and/or the musicians. And limit songs to a single verse. The majority of viewers are probably not singing along at home.
Catholics are not Protestants. We don’t go to Mass for the music. We go to Mass because we know we are sinners and we need to bare our souls to God and our savior Jesus Christ.
If you’ve found a live-streamed Mass that you really like, please tell us why you liked it and insert a link in the comments section below. Share your live-streamed Mass experience for the benefit of others.