Daybreak includes consecrated religious in Sunday Masses

Wed, Jun 10th 2015 03:00 pm
Staff Reporter
Father Ronald Sams, SJ, is one of many consecrated religious priests who celebrate Sunday Mass, a production of Daybreak TV. (Courtesy of Daybreak TV)
Father Ronald Sams, SJ, is one of many consecrated religious priests who celebrate Sunday Mass, a production of Daybreak TV. (Courtesy of Daybreak TV)

Daybreak TV Productions is responsible for recording daily and Sunday Masses for Western New York audiences. This month, for the Year of Consecrated Life, Daybreak will feature the contributions of consecrated religious in Sunday Masses recorded in June.

The Sunday televised Masses air at 7:30 a.m. on Fox 29. According to Daybreak's senior producer and director Paula DeAngelis-Stein, recording these Masses has been a longstanding tradition. The team records the Masses at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, the heart of the diocese. The Masses taped this month will air on Sundays from July 12 to Oct. 4, with a different priest celebrating each week.

"I've been here 20-plus years, and Daybreak has always taped that Mass," DeAngelis-Stein added. "We are there for a week. Within that week, we tape between 13 and 15 Masses, so it's usually about four Masses a day. We tape about four times a year. During the Year of Consecrated Life, we invited consecrated religious to celebrate these Masses so it's not all diocesan priests."

For the Year of Consecrated Life, Daybreak has invited order priests, including the Missionary Oblates, the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), Franciscan friars and Jesuits, while also having sisters of local orders serving as lectors. Representatives of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart and Sisters of St. Francis will celebrate the Masses, as well as some deacons of the diocese.

While a main focus of the Sunday Masses is making the Masses welcoming and ethnically diverse, they want to make sure people of different abilities are included as well.

In making sure all Western New Yorkers are served, DeAngelis-Stein said the Masses are sent to area nursing homes, so people with limited mobility who cannot otherwise get out to a church for Sunday Mass can still gather and watch the Mass anytime.

Ashley Czarnota, a videographer who is new to the staff of Daybreak, said shooting the Masses involves a lot of work and scheduling, but added, "The people are really nice. It goes really smoothly and they put a lot of care into it." Czarnota's past experience included recording many weddings and sporting events, so recording Masses inside a church was something new for her.

"It's just entertaining to meet new people with different personalities," she commented. "I'm not really familiar with the church atmosphere, so it's nice to kind of get a different insight."

Sister Jean Thompson, OSF, diocesan coordinator for the Retirement Fund for the Religious and vicar for the religious, has organized events for the Year of Consecrated Life and is scheduled to be a lector for the Mass that will air on July 26. She said she worked with DeAngelis-Stein to help people realize there are people in consecrated life who are very active in the churches of the diocese.

"We're just trying to make people aware that there are many religious women and men who are still very active in the diocese, and who are anxious to be part of this program, producing the liturgies for the people who are attending or observing Mass at home," Sister Jean explained.

Sister Barbara Schiavoni, GNSH, who serves the diocesan Office of Lifelong Faith Formation, will be the lector of the Mass airing July 19. "To have the Mass recorded at the cathedral and able to reach anyone in our diocese, that's a way they remain connected to the Church through their participation in the televised Mass," she commented. "I really feel it's a very important ministry because it brings the Church to people we sometimes forget, or maybe overlooked."

DeAngelis-Stein called recording the Sunday Masses a "real sense of accomplishment" for Daybreak and said the Masses they film help people across the diocese connect or reconnect to their faith.

"We are happy to invite consecrated men and women to be part of the Sunday televised Mass tapings," she added. "By doing this, we have met wonderful people who hopefully will always be willing to be part of these Masses and help us with our ministry of spreading the Good News."

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