Corrie Young (20) is a journalism student at Napier University and parishioner at St Cuthbert's in Edinburgh. He describes how the parish of St Mary’s in Bo’ness has dealt with the impact of Covid-19.
The first time St Mary's Parish in Bo'ness did a livestream broadcast was for Christmas Midnight Mass in 2017.
So when public Mass was suspended earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic they were ready to adapt to new circumstances.
▶️ Sunday Mass at 10am
— St. Mary’s RC Church (@rcboness) March 29, 2020
Callum Timms, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council, said: “These broadcasts have been effective in supporting the prayer lives of our parishioners. They have offered nourishment with the Word of God and have fostered a continued sense of community. We continue as a community of faith, even while we cannot gather in person.
"It was in a PPC meeting in April 2016, that our Parish Pastoral Council was re-established, and I was asked to take on the role of vice convener.
“During a meeting the following year, one of our parishioners suggested the installation of livestream equipment and this was subsequently sourced and installed in December 2017. Our first live broadcast was Midnight Mass that year.”
The parish has been aided in livestreaming by Sanctus Media, a non-profit company based in Bo’ness that partially specialises in work with churches.
Parish priest Father Andrew Forrest decided to continue broadcasting Sunday Mass. Approaching Easter, liturgies throughout the Easter Triduum and weekday Masses in the Easter Octave were also broadcasted.
? Join us live from St. Mary’s throughout Holy Week!
Our next live broadcast will be our Ecumenical Way of the Cross this Wednesday at 7pm. pic.twitter.com/FancfkNWNF
— St. Mary’s RC Church (@rcboness) April 5, 2020
As the lockdown continued, Monday, Friday, and Saturday Mass have been added to its streaming programme.
Callum added: “This commitment has been remarkable for an almost 87-year-old priest who has just recently celebrated his diamond jubilee ordination. Our format necessitates the support of two parishioners, at our parish priest’s request.”
The team operates the technical equipment during Mass and lead readings of the Liturgy, following health and safety guidelines.
He finished: “I hope and pray that when we are able to fully return to Mass, we will do so with a hunger and perhaps a greater appreciation of the Sacrament, but also with an appreciation for the community which our faith provides.
“Our faith truly is about relationships – the Trinity is a relationship, the Holy Family is about relationship, and so on – and our parish communities are no different as we rely on the support of one another.”
Livestreamed Mass from St Mary's in Bo'ness can be viewed here. Mass will be broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel this Sunday (21 June) at 12pm.