Local church streams services during COVID-19 lockdown

Canton’s St. Thomas a’Becket Catholic Church has switched to recording its Masses to continue reaching its congregation, despite the stay-at-home order currently in effect in Michigan to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The church, which has been operating in Canton, Michigan, since the 1970s, began streaming weekly Masses through YouTube and Facebook immediately after the stay-at-home order took effect. Masses include a full complement of music and are also recorded for special occasions outside of the normal weekly cycle.

One of the most important parts of the Masses is the human contact, according to Colin Davidson, a violinist assisting with the recording process.

“It provides human contact and a sense of belonging,” Davidson said. “There’s still something going on, a sense of stability, something I’ve been participating in all my life.”

Because of social distancing guidelines, which preclude the typical rituals of many religious ceremonies, many Christians around the world were not able to celebrate Easter in a church this year. To allow parishioners to participate, St. Thomas a’Becket recorded Masses and other special services for Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, including a Holy Thursday Mass, a Good Friday service, and the Easter Vigil, which acts as a substitute for a regular Easter Sunday Mass. 

Some of the recorded ceremonies have been published on the St. Thomas a’Becket parish website, while others are on its Facebook page. St. Thomas a’Becket continues to record Masses every Friday, and appears to be on track to keep doing so until the stay-at-home order is lifted.