A Congregation Finds Connection Through Technology
Religious denominations across the United States were faced with an unexpected challenge this spring: how to provide alternatives to traditional worship in view of the COVID-19 shutdown. At Christ the King Parish, staff turned to technology to bridge the gap between church services–such as Easter Mass and the praying of the Rosary—and the spiritual and social needs of its parishioners.
On March 16, 2020, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr announced that all Masses would be suspended in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Catholics throughout the state would be dispensed from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass until the state-wide shutdown from the pandemic ended. The celebration of the liturgy is such an integral part of Catholic life that many churches turned to video-recording and live-streaming Masses.
Christ the King partnered with a local company, StreamSpot, to broadcast Mass. Staff set up video equipment inside the church to record Father Ed Smith celebrating the liturgy. Then the recording was downloaded onto the StreamSpot platform where it could be shared on the church’s website and social media channels. Analytics indicated that Easter Mass on April 12 was viewed 2,643 times.|
For each day of Easter’s Holy Week, clergy recorded a personal message too: Smith, Father Frank Voellmecke and Deacon Don Gloeckler used a program called Screencast-o-Matic to record themselves using the webcams from their own computers. The brief video messages offered connection and encouragement during a time of social-distancing.
Catholics hold a special place in their hearts for Jesus’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and often turn to her in difficult times. The church has a group that meets regularly on Monday nights to pray the Holy Rosary in church. Using Zoom, parishioners were able to continue with their devotion to the Blessed Mother. After one online session parishioner Beth Taschuk commented, “Thank you so much. This has given me so much peace. I prayed using my late grandmother’s Rosary, making it even more special.”
Our Lord Christ the King Church in Mt. Lookout is one of 211 Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Its school, Cardinal Pacelli, serves students from Preschool through Grade 8. For more information, please visit www.olctk.org.