Daily TV Mass is filmed at Loretto Abbey in Toronto and is available through various channels, including its website.

Broadcasts ‘a port in the storm’

  • May 30, 2020

The ratings for the Daily TV Mass are sure to decline in the near future, and Deacon Michael Walsh is OK with that.

“We would say that’s a good thing,” said Walsh, executive director of the National Catholic Broadcasting Council which produces the Daily TV Mass for broadcast across Canada.

The program saw a huge jump in viewership when churches closed down in mid-March in conjunction with most of society as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Canada. Where it would draw audiences in the mid-40,000 range on its YouTube channel before COVID-19, mostly shut-ins and those physically unable to attend Mass at their parish, it has seen those numbers triple on an average day. There have been certain days where those numbers have skyrocketed, including the more than 400,000 who tuned in for Palm Sunday services, said Walsh.

Walsh knows the numbers will fall drastically when people are able to return to their parishes in large numbers once health restrictions are lifted, and rightfully so.

“This is a port in the storm so to speak,” he said of the Mass that is broadcast beyond YouTube, with television partners Salt + Light TV, Joytv, Yes TV and FaithTV picking up the broadcast, as well as the council’s Facebook page and its Daily TV Mass app. “But always the best place (is the parish), and the bishops have said this quite clearly, that we are sacramental people and we need to go and have the sacrament.”

Even as churches slowly re-open in some dioceses, health regulations mean numbers able to attend an in-person Mass are severely restricted, so demand will remain for the Daily TV Mass and live-streamed Masses. For many, it’s become comfortable “destination TV” and an extension of the Church.

“It becomes kind of like your church in a sense. You know the priests, you know the way it’s going to work,” Walsh said. 

Support has gone beyond just people tuning in. The council has picked up a steady stream of small donations from viewers. Sponsors have also remained steady to help offset the cost of the production from Toronto’s Loretto Abbey chapel. Each Mass has a distinct sponsor and there are enough sponsors to carry the Mass through to October now, said Walsh.

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