A County Tyrone Catholic church expects to smash all records for mass attendance this Christmas – thanks to the internet.
Parishioners at St Patrick’s church in Eglish have pulled out all the stops to broadcast their Mass live on the worldwide web.
They’ve teamed up with the British Telecom phone company to install the latest fibre broadband technology at the 177-year-old chapel.
All services over the festive period will be broadcast live on the net with huge audiences expected from an emigrant community spread all across the world.
Brian Jordan, president of the Pioneer’s Association which organised the network, believes the broadcasts will appeal to Eglish natives who are overseas and allow them to reconnect with their village at Christmas.
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“The highest concentration of Eglish expatriates is in Australia and they will see the Christmas Eve Mass in the early hours of Christmas morning due to the time difference,” explained Jordan.
“We are very grateful to a number of people for helping to make this happen. 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.”
Jordan told local media that the biggest problem was getting a connection to the church across a busy road.
“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,” said Jordan.
Newly installed parish priest Fr Peter McAnenly will celebrate a Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve featuring children from the nearby Roan and Derrylatinee school who will perform a special nativity scene.