Church reaches out to parishioners abroad with online Christmas Masses

 

A CO Tyrone church could be set for record-breaking congregations this weekend after using some new technology to spread the Christmas message far and wide.

Christmas Masses at St Patrick’s in Eglish are to be broadcast on the internet after parishioners kitted out the 177-year-old chapel with the latest technology.

With help from BT, the parish’s Pioneer Association managed to install fibre broadband to the historic building to enable services to be streamed online.

Brian Jordan, president of the association, said the initiative would help Eglish natives who are overseas reconnect with the village at Christmas.

He said the highest concentration of Eglish expatriates was in Australia and they will see the Christmas Eve Mass in the early hours of Christmas morning due to the time difference.

“We are very grateful to a number of people for helping to make this happen,” he said.

“It is such a huge boost for our church, with scores of people overseas as well as others who have moved from the area being able to take part in the biggest Mass of the year.

“When we contacted BT, at very late notice, they pulled out all the stops to help us, as did the neighbouring family, whose fibre broadband connection we are using.”

Mr Jordan said the biggest problem was getting a connection to the church, as a busy road had to be crossed over and it was too far for wireless to work.

“Nothing was a problem to the team of BT engineers that installed the cables to allow a Dungannon company, MCN Media, who specialise in live streaming to send the Eglish celebration over the internet,” Mr Jordan explained.

Frank McManus, BT head of wholesale sales and service, said: “We were delighted to help out. It’s another example of what can be done, through the use of new and exciting technology, to bring communities together.”

Mr Jordan said the vigil Mass would feature children from the nearby Roan and Derrylatinee school, who are performing a special nativity scene.

The Mass will be celebrated by newly installed parish priest Fr Peter McAnenly. – (PA)