SINGAPORE – The Church of St. Vincent de Paul is posting complete videos of its Saturday sunset Masses on its website for parishioners who cannot make it to church.

Parish priest Father Michael Sitaram said the videos are mainly to reach out to the housebound.

While they receive Holy Communion weekly from a Eucharistic minister, they are now able to view the Mass celebration despite being physically unable to attend. “Many of them were once active in the parish and are happy to see how the church is growing,” said Father Sitaram.

Furthermore, some parishioners who are able to attend Mass may want to hear the homily again, he added.

The parish is believed to be the first in the Singapore archdiocese to offer such a service.

The priest says he got the idea from the American Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), where videos of Masses are broadcast. He also saw a similar service in the Philippines, he said.

After initial hiccups, the first Mass video of St. Vincent de Paul church was uploaded in August.

The church also offers a similar service featuring monthly Masses in Tagalog for Filipino workers.

Father Sitaram says he hopes to see other videos uploaded as well, such as those of the Divine Mercy devotion and of speakers on various topics on the faith.

This way, the parish can reach out not only to the housebound but also to young adults who lead busy lives and may not have time to attend such talks, the priest said.

While Father Sitaram said the present online service has been generally well-received, some see a down-side.

Parishioner Gregory Koh, 17, acknowledges the videos are useful for those who are unable to physically come for Mass, but said “people may use it as an opportunity not to come to church and just stay at home, as they feel that watching the videos is sufficient”.

However, Father Sitaram stressed that watching the videos do not fulfil the Sunday Mass obligation for those who are able to attend Mass.
By Andre Theng UCAN