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Thousands tune in to Holy Week livestreams

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Thousands of people tuned in to Holy Week Masses and other liturgical services livestreamed last week from the Cathedral of St. Thomas More — more than the number that could have attended in person, according to the Diocese of Arlington.

Like other churches, the cathedral, which has a 1,200-person capacity, was not open to the public during Holy Week, when stay-at-home orders remained in place and public Masses remained suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But to keep its more than 460,000 Catholics connected digitally, the diocese rewired the Cathedral in March with high-speed Ethernet cables buried in the sanctuary’s pillars to allow fast and reliable Wi-Fi streaming. 

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said he wanted to ensure that the faithful were able to “celebrate this special season with a sense that they remain spiritually unified during this challenging time.” 

Tracking results showed almost 13,000 computers tuned in on Easter Sunday, and several thousand for each other Holy Week Mass or liturgical service. The number of actual viewers is likely much higher, because more than one person often watches on the same screen. The breakdown for each service:  

—     5,386 on Palm Sunday.

—     4,566 on Holy Thursday.

—     3,680 on Good Friday.

—     3,778 for the Easter Vigil.

—     12,955 on Easter Sunday.

Sunday Masses will continue to be livestreamed at least until public Masses resume. Links to livestreams are on the diocese's homepage, ArlingtonDiocese.org.

Despite the need for social distancing during the pandemic, “there is no spiritual distancing in this diocese,” Bishop Burbidge said.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020