Upcoming second collection funds TV Mass for elderly, homebound

Catholic Communication Campaign

Weekend of May 27-28

The Catholic Communication Campaign is a second collection that supports the Church’s communications initiatives and offsets the costs of producing and airing the Mass on television in English and Spanish in the Diocese of Phoenix.

Help support this critical outreach to home-bound and elderly Catholics by making a contribution to help offset the costs of producing and broadcasting the Mass:

TV Mass
Diocese of Phoenix
400 E. Monroe St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Or call: (602) 354-2479

Info: dphx.org/ccc or usccb.org/ccc

In a world oftentimes inundated with “fake news” and sensationalism, Pope Francis encourages everyone to “engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter.”

“In a communications industry which thinks that good news does not sell, and where the tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil easily turn into entertainment, there is always the temptation that our consciences can be dulled or slip into pessimism,” the Holy Father wrote in his message for the 2017 World Communications Day, saying that we need to look at media through the lens of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Good News.

It is this culture of encounter that the faithful are invited to participate in through the Catholic Communication Campaign, a second collection held at Masses throughout the Diocese of Phoenix the weekend of May 27-28. Half the funds raised go to support diocesan communications efforts, while the other half support national communications initiatives from the USCCB, including the “For Your Marriage” website, audio podcasts of the daily Scripture readings, the Catholic Church app and video productions.

In the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted designated the funds to offset the costs of broadcasting the Holy Mass. The Mass airs every Sunday in English on AZ-TV 7 / Cable 13 at 9 a.m. from Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.

“It is a great blessing to be able to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass broadcast in Spanish and in English every Sunday. Many of our elderly and shut-ins who are unable to participate in Mass find this a true consolation,” Bishop Olmsted said.

“We also know from our viewers that these broadcasts have served as evangelizing tools for non-Catholics and those Catholics who have fallen away from the practice of the faith.

“I am deeply grateful that the Catholic Communications Campaign, together with generous donations by viewers and Catholic organizations, are making it possible to continue the weekly televised Masses,” he added.

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“The Catholic Mass is a critical lifeline for so many of our homebound, elderly or sick brothers and sisters,” Robert DeFrancesco, director of communications for the Diocese of Phoenix, said. “It provides a connection to the Church for those who are unable to be physically present at Mass; it’s a way for them to connect with Christ.”

Joe Reynolds, the owner of Skyline Productions and producer of the broadcast each Sunday, agrees.

“My goal as the producer is to make sure those who, for whatever reason may not be able to get to Mass, to be able to feel like that they are sitting there in the pews as part of the community,” Reynolds said.

There’s a crew of six to seven people who arrive at 6 a.m. every Sunday to make it all happen, Reynolds said, which airs live not only on television, but on 1310 AM Immaculate Heart Radio and on the Diocese of Phoenix’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/phoenixdiocese.

Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, speaks in front of the camera prior to one of the televised Masses. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Phoenix Communications Office)

Reynolds, a parishioner at St. Timothy in Mesa, said producing the Mass is an opportunity to evangelize and share his faith using modern technology, and that he constantly hears of people encountering the faith through the televised Mass.

“A grandmother let us know she couldn’t attend Mass but was delighted she could sit and watch it and explain to her grandson,” he said. “You never know who you’re reaching out to.”

Fr. Daniel McBride, pastor at St. Mary and director of Catholic Media Ministry, which produces the Spanish-language Mass that airs on Azteca America 41 at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and is also offset by campaign funds, said he receives feedback from family members of the homebound about how important the ministry is.

“One woman told me her mother had been watching the Spanish Mass and she’s so happy to get the Mass,” he recalled.

The English- and Spanish-language broadcasts are followed by a short newsmagazine-style programs: “Catholics Matter,” hosted by Fr. Rob Clements, director of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center in Tempe, and “Cultura y Fe,” hosted by Cristofer Pereyra in Spanish.

Pereyra said the Spanish-language Mass is reaching the people it was meant to — the homebound, elderly and handicapped. His show, he said carries that mission of encounter by sharing more about the faith with a television audience.

“The Church now has a platform to communicate what it’s been doing,” Pereyra said. “Anything that’s at the heart of the work we do, we promote it through ‘Cultura y Fe.’”