Nationwide Sunday TV Mass begins Jan. 2

MILWAUKEE, Wis.—The Heart of the Nation TV Mass ministry will expand its televised Catholic Mass in the Diocese of Charleston beginning Jan. 2, 2011.

Santa Fe Communications, Inc., which produces and distributes the broadcast, recently announced its expansion to the ION broadcast/cable/satellite network beginning the first Sunday of the new year.

The ION Network will show the Heart of the Nation Mass at 9:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. CT every Sunday morning on 136 cable stations, 25 broadcast channels, and on DirecTV and the Dish Network serving satellite customers.

The channel guide for the Diocese of Charleston is: Time Warner, channel 19; Comcast , channel 15; Home Telecom, channel 53; DirecTV, channels 305 and 347; and Dish Network, channels 216 and 217.

“Heart of the Nation began in the 1980’s with the vision of gradually broadcasting the Catholic Mass nationwide,” said Bruno John, executive director. “A convergence of factors has allowed us to expand from our niche in a small number of broadcast TV markets to now make the Mass available to millions of additional TV households across the country.”

The Mass follows all Roman Catholic liturgical norms. Watching the TV Mass does not meet the Sunday Mass obligation for Catholics who are able to participate in person.

The TV Mass is closed-captioned, and Heart of the Nation provides free, large-print missalette subscriptions to viewers upon request. Having the text of the homilies available online will enable viewers to follow along on a printed copy or to further reflect on the message after Mass, John said.

While the TV Mass cannot provide the Eucharist, it can provide a sense of belonging or spiritual communion with the larger faith community. Heart of the Nation invites viewers to send prayer intentions which are included in the Mass.

By inviting people to join us for the televised Mass, our primary goal is to provide a TV Mass for those in need while ensuring that people feel welcome to go to Mass at a parish whenever they are able,” John said.

It is taped in the Christ King Chapel, nestled within Saint Francis de Sales Seminary on the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.

“We also hope that the seminary location, generously donated for our use when taping the Mass, encourages viewers to pray for vocations,” John said of the picturesque location.

Santa Fe Communications is also launching a new website, Features will include streaming video of the TV Mass, text of the homilies, inspirational prayers, a “Where to Watch” channel guide, and other elements.

John said they want the website to be a resource for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who bring the Eucharist to the sick and homebound, for chaplains in healthcare and prison settings, and for the families and friends of those in need of the TV Mass. As a tool for evangelization, the TV Mass also reaches people who have stopped going to Mass or those interested in converting.