FALL RIVER — Last September the Television Mass sponsored by the Fall River Diocese each Sunday on WLNE-TV Channel 6, marked its 50th anniversary on air. Week after week, for over five decades now, the TV Mass has brought the Word of God and prayers of the Mass to countless numbers of area Catholics unable to go to a parish Mass because or illness or infirmity. And for many of those viewers that spiritual sustenance was conveyed by a familiar face or name as the Mass broadcast has remained a locally-produced one with priests from the diocese serving as celebrants.
The Diocesan Television Mass is a ministry made possible in part through the financial support provided by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC). Parishes in the Fall River Diocese will take up the CCC collection at Masses this weekend.
An annual national collection, the CCC is unique in that it is designated as a shared collection, meaning half of the proceeds stay in the local diocese and the other half is forwarded to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference to support national and international communication programs and projects.
The portion remaining in the Fall River Diocese is used to fund the weekly Television Mass. Annual cost for the Television Mass is $105,056 including production, airtime and closed-captioning –all of which are handled by different entities.
“We have been very fortunate in that we have been able to maintain providing a Mass on television for so many years,” said Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, who is director of the Television Mass Apostolate and pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Mansfield.
“While there are Masses from different parts of the country carried on cable TV Bishop George W. Coleman is committed to offering a local Mass from our diocese, believing it to be an important service to those who are sick, elderly or homebound,” he said. “The bishop remained steadfast in his commitment even as the diocese assumed a steep increase in its cost in 2011 when production of the Mass could no longer be done by the TV station and an independent video services company had to be hired.”
In addition to proceeds from this weekend’s CCC collection, the Television Mass is also funded by the Catholic Charities Appeal.
Msgr. Avila expressed on behalf of Bishop Coleman his gratitude to those who support the TV Mass through this weekend’s CCC collection and the Charities Appeal. He said that donations may also be sent directly to the Diocesan TV Mass at P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722.
On the national level, the CCC supports the development and production of a wide range of media projects produced by the U.S. Bishops’ Conference and grantee organizations around the world and made available through the Internet, radio, TV, print and social media.
To learn more about the Catholic Communication Campaign, visit http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-communication-campaign/