By EmmaLee Italia | Correspondent
Being able to witness the holy sacrifice of the Mass remotely has been a blessing for the homebound – but for years, it has only available to those within Catholic radio and television stations’ geographic listening areas. The advent of 4G Internet technology has changed all that.
Domestic Church Media, the Ewing-based Catholic multimedia apostolate, has been broadcasting Masses from the Vatican and EWTN ever since their 1260 AM WFJS station went on the air in 2008. Beginning in 2016, they branched out into live broadcasting and Internet streaming of Masses from parishes within their listening areas – which includes much of the Diocese of Trenton, additional central New Jersey counties and portions of Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania.
“The live broadcast of a Mass is part of our parish visitation program,” explained DCM parish liaison and program host Gabriella Furmato. “We have been visiting parishes to spread the word about Catholic Radio since the first station went on the air. After our 2016 Radiothon, we purchased equipment that would let us broadcast remotely using 4G.”
DCM has been able to offer the live broadcasts as a way of thanking the parishes for their hospitality, when the proper sound system is available: a master audio out from the church, coupled with the apostolate’s 4G equipment.
The list of participating parishes in the Diocese has grown to include Visitation Parish, Brick; St. Rose Parish, Belmar; and most recently, St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, on Aug. 27. DCM also broadcasted live the closing Mass for the Padre Pio Festival at St. Bede the Venerable Parish, Holland, Pa.; the sending-off Mass for World Youth Day pilgrims in 2016 and the Feb. 19 elevation of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral Parish, Freehold. Other special broadcasts can be found at DomesticChurchMedia.org/specials.
“This is exciting for us and all those involved in the Sunday Mass,” Furmato noted. “Not only are they serving their parish, but they are also serving our wide listening area.”
Upcoming Mass broadcasts planned for parishes in the Diocese are: Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune – Sept. 10, noon; Holy Cross, Rumson – Sept. 17, noon; St. Justin Parish, Toms River – March 30 (Good Friday).
Father H. Todd Carter, pastor of Holy Innocents Parish, is looking forward to the opportunity to participate in this form of evangelization.
“I think it’s helpful for those who can’t make it to Mass,” he said, “because we do have a lot of shut-ins – and they’re always happy to watch and listen to the Mass, to participate that way.”
Father Carter also noted the chance opportunity provided by the live broadcast, as people scan their radios looking for a station. “It’s a good way to reach out and encounter those who might come across the Mass being said [on the air].”
Father Carter had said Mass at the radio station a few times when he was assigned nearby in Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton.
“I think it does make a world of difference for people to hear Mass [being broadcasted live] by a priest they might actually know or have the chance to meet,” he said of the unique opportunity provided. “They’re more connected to the people, which I think is why some dioceses go out of their way to broadcast a local Mass.”
Domestic Church Media owns and operates four radio stations in New Jersey: WFJS 1260 AM (Mercer, Burlington, Hunterdon, Somerset and Bucks counties); WFJS 89.3 FM (Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties); WGYM 1580 AM (Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem and Camden counties); and WSMJ 91.9 FM (Cape May County). Their live programming and podcasts can be streamed using their free app for portable devices, or from their website: DomesticChurchMedia.org.