IN A SCREEN-GRAB from a live-streamed Mass at Sacred Heart in Castleton, Rev. Thomas Krupa blesses children before they leave for the children's Liturgy of the Word.
IN A SCREEN-GRAB from a live-streamed Mass at Sacred Heart in Castleton, Rev. Thomas Krupa blesses children before they leave for the children's Liturgy of the Word.
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In July, Sacred Heart parish in Castleton joined a handful of parishes in the Albany Diocese that offer Masses live-streamed over the internet.

Anyone with a computer can view the live video feed online as the Mass is being celebrated. After Mass, the videos remain posted online, so parishioners — mainly the elderly and homebound — can even watch them again.

As more parishes live-stream or record Masses, are priests changing their homilies or routines to cater to a wider, online audience?

They say no.

“I am who I am; I’m not going to change who I am because I’m being live-streamed,” said Rev. Thomas Krupa, pastor at Sacred Heart.

The pastor said he doesn’t tailor his homilies for the internet, but focuses on what he feels is “appropriate for my people.”

When Sacred Heart started live-streaming Mass, Father Krupa said, a friend warned him to watch what he said, now that his homilies would be preserved online. Fortunately, all of the feedback so far has been positive, he said.

St. Paul the Apostle parish in Hancock has been recording and posting the audio version of homilies from its Sunday Masses to its parish website and Facebook page. Rev. Daniel Quinn, pastor, said he, too, keeps his focus on the parishioners present at Mass and does not adjust what he says.

“Do I worry when I put [my homily] online…that somebody on Facebook might say something? I don’t think I care,” he reflected.

Father Quinn noted that, in the seminary, his class was taught “to preach to the people in front of you, who are listening.” His homilies, he added, reflect lessons from the Gospel: “If people are going to respond negatively to something in the homily, then they’re going to respond negatively to something in the homily. I can’t change what Jesus said.”

Rev. Randall Patterson of Our Lady of Victory parish in Troy said that, while live-streaming the parish’s Sunday Mass since 2017 hasn’t changed things much, “it’s important that the homily include the people who are out there and homebound.

“People will say they watch the live stream and say how much they feel at home in the parish church,” he explained. “They’re very appreciative they can watch the Mass.”

All three priests expressed gratitude for technology giving their homebound, sick and elderly parishioners an opportunity to experience Mass at their own parishes.

One elderly parishioner of Sacred Heart, who has difficulty attending Mass in person, has been able to watch Masses online at home, surrounded by her family. She told Father Krupa “how wonderful it was to see Mass” celebrated by her own pastor.

Father Krupa noted that Sacred Heart parish also live-streams weddings, baptisms, funerals, First Communions, confirmations and other celebrations or events.

The parish recently had a baptism where a family member of the party lived in California, making it difficult to attend. Father Krupa said the relative could still be a part of the day by watching the baptism live online.

“I would encourage parishes to explore this, because it can be a great benefit,” said Father Patterson.