A fundraising program launched today will help enable the ongoing broadcast of Catholic Mass on free-to-air television as it prepares to mark 50 years ministering to people who cannot attend a local church.
Mass for You at Home, which first aired on August 1, 1971, is broadcast on Channel 10 and WIN television on Sunday morning at 6am. It is also shown on Foxtel’s Aurora channel and can be viewed on the new www.massforyou.com.au website.
For almost five decades, the Archdiocese of Melbourne oversaw and was the primary funder of Mass for You at Home. The project is now a partnership between the Diocese of Wollongong, which is producing the weekly Masses, and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
“Through our broadcasting partners – 10, WIN and Aurora – this is a truly national initiative, and the new collaboration between Wollongong and the Bishops Conference helps reflect that reality,” said Archbishop Christopher Prowse, chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.
“We are pleased the inter-diocesan cooperation that existed in Melbourne continues, with priests and other ministers from within and outside Wollongong Diocese involved in the early Masses.”
Wollongong Bishop Brian Mascord said COVID-19 opened up new possibilities for celebrating Masses and delivering other Catholic content in online formats, but that has its limitations.
“We were very humbled to have received such positive feedback in the way our Masses, especially during lockdown, were a source of comfort and nourishment for people,” he said.
“By extending our ministry to include free-to-air television, we reach people who can’t necessarily access Mass in other ways – people without internet, the housebound and isolated, those who are in hospital or aged care, those in prison – as well as those flicking through the channels.”
The first Mass produced by the Diocese of Wollongong was broadcast on Easter Sunday.
“We have already heard from people who are grateful for the many years of this ministry, and we are excited to carry forward the legacy of those in Melbourne – the archdiocese and the production team,” Bishop Mascord said.
In recent years, due to changes in religious programming obligations, the annual cost of producing and broadcasting the Mass has run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Archbishop Prowse said the fundraising program, with a target of $350,000 for the remainder of the year, will help cover the broadcasting and production costs for Mass for You at Home for 2021 and beyond.
He expressed his gratitude to Catholic Mission, a key sponsor of the program over many years, and dioceses and archdioceses that have provided financial support. Archbishop Prowse said he was optimistic that the Catholic faithful and wider community would respond to the invitation for support.
“Through prayer, promotion and any financial gifts they can offer, people will help maintain a prayerful Catholic presence on free-to-air television that many Australians highly value,” he said.
Information on the fundraising program can be found at: www.massforyou.com.au