These churches use the internet to broadcast Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist to anyone in the world.
There is a famous and true story about St. Clare of Assisi, the great friend of St. Francis and foundress of the Poor Clare nuns. One day she was bed-bound due to illness and was unable to attend Mass with her community. She prayed fervently to God asking for the grace to somehow be able to join her sisters. Immediately she received a stunning vision of the Mass — a “live feed” so to speak. It seemed to her the Mass had been delivered directly into her monastic cell, and she was thereby able to worship.
As televisions became ubiquitous in the West the Church, recalling this vision, declared Clare the Patroness of Television in 1958.
Over the years churches have been known to broadcast live Masses (as well as pre-recorded Masses) on local and network TV channels — the first televised Mass went out from Boston, in 1949 and the Vatican’s Christmas Mass has been broadcast live every year since the first, Europe-limited broadcasts of the 1950’s — but with the introduction of the internet the possibilities have only increased.
Catholic broadcasting networks such as EWTN and Catholic TV make it possible to watch Mass on a daily basis through their YouTube channels. This allows the homebound and sick, or even non-Catholics curious about the Mass, to participate in the Holy Sacrifice from anywhere in the world. They can view it from their computer, TV, or phone, and engage spirituality in the Mass being celebrated elsewhere.
Participating in Mass online is never a replacement for the Mass in person and does not fulfill the Sunday obligation. However, if someone is homebound or sick at the hospital, it provides an opportunity to participate in and be consoled by the Mass and still reap spiritual fruit.
Recently churches have been exploring other possibilities, not only offering live feeds of Mass, but also video streams that originate from their churches and Perpetual Adoration chapels. The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters seem to have been the first to do this, offering a live feed from their monastic choir. On YouTube, Adorecast is one of many live channels where one can — in a spirit of sincere devotion — check in day or night to spend some time in Adoration before Jesus in the Eucharist.
While these digital alternatives can never fully compare to in-person participation, they do offer a unique opportunity for those who desire to see Jesus in the Eucharist, but for various circumstances are unable to do so at their local church.
In an age when crimes are being captured on Facebook live video, it is beautiful to see technology being used to broadcast the Word of God himself.