Holy Family Church in Artesia bought an adjacent building just before the COVID-19 lockdown. Despite worries that it would be a financial drain as donations plummeted in the pandemic, the building’s Blessed Carlo Acutis Broadcast Center has driven growth in the parish and outreach to the Filipino community nationwide.
“We have had incredible growth in the last few years,” said Father John Cordero, the pastor.
“There is a need to engage more young adults. We want to use this as a platform to increase vocations. Those are just a few of the [livestream] conversations that we want to have.”Holy Family — which had 3,000 registered members before the pandemic — now has 10,000 Facebook followers and 2,000 YouTube subscribers. Regular Mass attendance is nearing pre-pandemic levels.
The parish tech team was a key to that growth.
“They include hobbyists, people who just learned on the fly, who came together to make something great,” Father Cordero said.
Though Holy Family is at least 80% Filipino, Mass is celebrated in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese. Portuguese parishioners were instrumental in launching the multimedia outreach, drawing on their experience running Radio Lusalandia, a Portuguese internet radio station.
“The first persons who helped to run our system are volunteers from the Portuguese radio station,” Father Cordero said.
The studio was part of the newly purchased building’s mission as a center for youth and young adult ministry. Each room was named for a relevant saint. For digital production, “Who better to name it for than Blessed Carlo Acutis, right?” Father Cordero asked.
Blessed Carlo, who was 15 when he died in 2006, was known for his devotion to the Eucharist, his kindness to others, and his skill with computers. He created a website to document eucharistic miracles.
So it was fitting that the Blessed Carlo Acutis Broadcast Center launched by streaming the Blessed Sacrament when the church shut its doors“People just stared at the tabernacle in the first few days of the lockdown,” Father Cordero said.
New technology facilitated renewed ministry. The parish installed a low-watt radio transmitter for people to listen to Mass on car radios in the parking lot – while watching on a Jumbotron through a church window. Parking for hundreds of cars was managed by the Knights of Columbus, a notoriously elderly group that began asking young adults to assist with parking. When the Holy Family Knights recently inducted 18 new members, many were young adults from the parking ministry.
The video ministry expanded so rapidly that the equipment broke down from round-the-clock use. After replacement gear was purchased, someone repaired the first system, enabling a second production team to create programming beyond parish events….
The above comes from a May 12 story in Angelus News.