Cardinal Thomas Collins and Deacon Mike Walsh make preparations for a taping of the Daily TV Mass from Loretto Abbey’s chapel. Mickey Conlon

TV Mass patrons leave rich gift legacy

By 
  • October 31, 2020

When the alarming spread of COVID-19 forced the closure of churches and a suspension of Masses in the middle of March, Catholics turned to the National Catholic Broadcasting Council (NCBC)’s Daily TV Mass as a source of comfort and a pathway to connect with God during fraught times.

On YouTube alone, the audience for these live-streamed liturgical services from Loretto Abbey chapel in Toronto grew sharply. The vast majority of Daily TV Mass broadcasts since March 17 — which air on Salt+Light TV, Joy TV, Vision TV, Yes TV and Faith TV — have drawn six-figure audiences compared to an average of roughly 40,000 people daily beforehand. The NCBC’s Palm Sunday celebration netted a record 411,000 viewers. Audiences also watch the services on social media and listen to audio podcasts.

It may have been a smaller community tuning in pre-pandemic, but it is a loyal community that has developed a close-knit connection with the Daily TV Mass for many years. Many have fostered that intimate bond by establishing legacy donations to the NCBC in their estates.

“We have been blessed that a number of people have remembered us in their Wills,” said Deacon Mike Walsh, president and executive director of the NCBC. “They all do so in individual ways. The single largest contribution we ever got was a gentleman who sponsored a Mass each month for about two years. He offered a residual beneficiary for the repose of his soul, his wife’s soul and his children’s soul.”

These generous donors receive recognition for their contribution to the Daily TV Mass during the celebrant’s opening remarks. The priest says the airing of the Mass is made possible by the estate of the late patron, and then prays for his or her soul, and all the faithful departed, to be reposed through God’s mercy.

Walsh, who has served in his current role since 2014, said these legacy gifts “started very early” in the Daily TV Mass run that began in March 1998 with a Mass celebrated at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral by Bishop John Sherlock.

“It began probably without much input from the NCBC. It was people’s own initiative, and it started from the very early days.”   

The NCBC supports individuals and families seeking to give via a legacy donation (one time or recurring), a bequest in a Will or through establishing an endowment fund. Walsh said people also set up an endowment fund to support the Daily TV Mass out of recognition for the important role the NCBC plays. This gratitude for the NCBC’s vision of “warming faithful hearts” has been more acute during the eight months that many parishioners have been cut off from their faith community because of COVID-19.

There are multiple ways to set up an endowment fund, says Walsh, and you can structure it as you wish.

“Proceeds from the endowment fund would go towards funding the Mass. You can set one up privately, or you could contact the NCBC and we would work with the donor to set up the endowment fund,” he said.

“I am so touched by people’s generosity, their faith in the ministry and that they would trust us in this way.” 

To learn more about giving to the Daily TV Mass, contact the NCBC via e-mail at info@ncbc.ca or at 1-888-383-6277.

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