I’m bullish on the Church live streaming the Mass across the web. Not only the Mass, in fact, but also special events, guest speakers, and anything else worth sharing.
Christians can never fulfill the obligation of the Sabbath digitally — the Eucharist can only be experienced in the flesh — but our Masses and events can be streamed to share the style and life of the parish with friends, far-away family, and outsiders who might consider becoming insiders.
Fr. Chris Walsh, pastor of St. Raymond of Penafort in Northwest Philadelphia, has been an early adopter of new media to connect with his parishioners and followers. I helped him launch a “pastoral portal” in January. During this Holy Week he began live streaming his Masses. Here’s today’s Easter Mass:
His church’s Livestream account isn’t yet enabled for HD streaming (which is a pay-for service), but the video quality isn’t bad.
The streaming and archiving of the Homily is, I think, the secret sauce of these live streams. If a pastor is great, this is a great way to archive and share his zeal with constituencies that probably never would have heard him otherwise, or ever considered attending Mass.
Fr. Walsh had what I think is a very high quality security-camera style device installed, which makes the setup functionally invisible in the church. Still, you can start streaming with an iPhone or iPad as a means to try something like this on a pilot basis. Both have 720p HD or better cameras.
If you’re interested, Fr. Walsh’s homily begins at the 29:30 minute mark.