NICHOLS HILLS — A local church has become the first Catholic parish in Oklahoma to live stream its services online.
The new digital project has brought the sacred Mass at Christ the King, 8005 Dorset Drive, outside the four walls of the Catholic church and into the lives of countless people, said the Rev. Rick Stansberry, Christ the King’s pastor.
Stansberry said the live streaming of the church’s weekly Masses was an idea that came from a conversation he had with a non-Catholic friend who said he had watched live streaming church services while he was ill and found it meaningful.
Stansberry noted that, through “The Pope” app, papal events at the Vatican have been live streamed from time to time. Some Catholic churches in the United States live stream services, but Stansberry said Catholic Mass simply hasn’t been offered online in Oklahoma.
There’s a reason for that, he said.
A central focus of Mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, Stansberry said.
The priest said there is a widely held belief and concern that making Mass available online would keep parishioners from attending the service and partaking in Holy Eucharist.
“For the Mass, you come to receive the Eucharist, and you can’t get that if you don’t come,” he said.
Understanding those concerns, Stansberry took the project idea to members of Christ the King’s parish council.
“Their fear was that people would use that as an excuse to not come to church,” he said.
Stansberry told the council the potential benefits of the online availability far outweighed the concerns and expense.
The priest said he envisioned the live streaming capabilities as an important part of the church’s community outreach. He said making Mass available online could be a vital evangelistic effort, helping to share the Gospel and educate people about Catholicism.
Also, he said offering the Mass online could also be beneficial to homebound parishioners.
Eventually, the council agreed.
Making it happen
Three cameras were installed in the church sanctuary, and the Mass on Palm Sunday was the first to be live streamed.
Now, the weekly Mass is live streamed and archived, available on the church’s website at www.ckokc.org.
Stansberry said response to the new project came immediately after Holy Week. He said a vacationing parishioner expressed gratitude for being allowed to tap into his home parish while elsewhere. Plus, the priest said three non-Catholics reached out to him and told them how much they enjoyed the services.
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