Our Audio Visual Ministry had its roots during the pandemic with a single cellphone, but now the ministry has grown with greater capabilities, thanks to the leadership of Annie Barney, Communications Director for the parish, and a group of dedicated volunteers.
“The ministry was established in 2020 as a one-person show with Mike Brown who started livestreaming Mass on his cellphone,” Annie says.
When it became apparent that the need for livestreaming Mass would continue, the parish invested in better cameras and video equipment, and iPads to control the cameras.
“It’s not huge, but it can give a better presentation than a cell phone,” she says. “It helps people feel close to what’s going on inside the church.”
The Audio Visual Ministry provides a livestream of the weekend and daily Masses, and when requested, funerals and weddings. The ministry also can help provide audio and visual assistance to someone with those needs who is present at Mass.
As Communications Director, Annie oversees the livestreaming and makes sure all the technical equipment is operating. As the need arises to replace equipment, Annie works with the resources provided by the parish.
“Our wonderful volunteers have taken on the task of coordinating everything,” she says. “They do all the legwork to make sure all is getting done.”
Annie and the Audio Visual Ministry members work with the knowledge that their efforts mean so much to our parish.
“We know it’s really valuable to the people who built the parish to be what it is, and maybe now can’t come to Mass like they did,” Annie says. “The live-
streams are really valuable to those people. If someone is ill, they can watch EWTN, but there is something about being able to see the inside of your church and see the people you are used to. If there is a funeral, and maybe someone can’t come, or a wedding, it gives the opportunity to feel a part of that day.”
Serving in the Audio Visual Ministry offers a unique opportunity to practice stewardship. In terms of time, talent, and treasure, the time involved is the same as that of attending Mass.
“It is a way to give your time in a significant way,” Annie says. “In terms of treasure, there is a special fund for the Audio Visual Ministry to maintain the equipment. I encourage people if they want to help with the ministry, they can look up our livestream costs, and consider this when they are making their donation choices.”
In terms of evangelizing, the ministry provides that opportunity, as well.
“If you like sharing our faith, it is a great way to do that,” Annie says. “When Mass is livestreamed, it goes to YouTube and Facebook.”
Ministry members do not need a large amount of technical skills, but familiarity with computers is welcome.
“The system is easy to run, but feeling confident around computers is good,” she says. “They should be familiar with the flow of Mass so they are better able to choose shots, such as a closeup of the lector, or focusing on the choir, things like that. The actual operation is all on a laptop and iPads.”
In looking ahead to the year’s events, Holy Week is one of the more intense periods for the ministry. Being able to livestream the Holy Saturday events, including the Easter fire that begins outside the church, offers its challenges.
“There is never a dull moment!” Annie says.
If anyone is interested in joining the ministry to offer their time and talents, there is always a need for volunteers.
“They are welcome to come in and learn,” Annie says. “We have a dedicated crew, including a couple who volunteer a lot, which is great, but we also want to add to the crew so we get people into a rotation.”
Those interested in joining the ministry may contact Annie Barney at 913-432-4616.