What is happening behind the scenes?
As many parishioners turn to online streaming of Mass, the video camera has become an essential church item. Our churches closed for public liturgies in March amid the pandemic. The recording of Sunday Mass has continued even during the temporary reopening of our churches. Who would have imagined our need for a camera to keep us connected? Fr Brendan and Fr Trac now celebrate Mass with us in the comfort of our homes, arriving via a link in the parish newsletter to the parish YouTube Channel. We can choose to participate during the live feed or at another time.
Preparation for Mass has changed somewhat. The Mass setting must now fit within the camera frame, including the altar, lectern and presider’s chair. Audio-visual checks before Mass have replaced opening church doors and turning on heaters and lights in readiness for worshippers to arrive. Preaching now takes place in front of a camera lens and there is a post-production editing team!
Ever since lockdown restrictions commenced prior to Holy Week, small liturgical teams have assisted with Mass recording across the parishes. For Surrey Hills Wattle Park, Mass was recorded in the chapel at Our Holy Redeemer in Surrey Hills. Chris Collery coordinated the liturgy and music, supported by Kirsten Italiano, Nanette Giovannini, Joan Griffith, Janita Gallagher, Declan Keating, Joanna Kelly and regular readers. For Camberwell, Balwyn and Deepdene, Mary, Andrew and Jacinta Ryan have been involved in recording from the outset as the reader, organist and cantor at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Deepdene. Michael Ryan recently joined the team along with Nanette Giovannini. Tighter COVID restrictions now only allow the recording of one Mass at Deepdene with limits on the number of people involved.
Jacinta Ryan will sing for the final time at Masses this weekend for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary and Sunday Mass. Jacinta is a violinist and returns to Stuttgart in Germany to continue her studies. We are most grateful to Jacinta for her involvement in our Mass recordings and thank her for leading us so beautifully in song. We wish her safe travels and every success with her studies.
With the challenge of not being able to celebrate Mass in our churches, the parish communities have embraced the use of technology to remain connected with one another. As we tune into Mass each week, with our own priests in familiar surrounds, we are reminded of belonging to parish and the invitation for Spiritual Communion. The Mass is now available to a faith community beyond parish geographical boundaries and to those who are unable to join us due to illness or physical limitations.
For now, the camera remains a tool to stay together, pray together and support one another during this time of social connection while physical distancing … ‘Lights, camera, action’.
By Tricia Norman