We have been parishioners since the beginning of 2018. At the start of the pandemic, when attending Mass in person was not possible, we knew Father Pat would want to stay connected to the parish, so we asked him if he wanted help recording videos to share. It was important to us to offer our services so that Pax Christi could stay connected during our physical time away from church, and each other. Allyson had been using Zoom for several years to teach courses online and has a background in video editing. Ironically, Allyson’s dad was part of his church’s video ministry years ago when VCRs and VHS tapes were used, and Allyson assisted him. She also had already been involved with proofreading Pax Christi’s weekly bulletin and writing articles for it.
We are originally from Florida and actually met during college at the University of Florida while attending a football game. We were married in a small chapel at the Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida, which is the site of the first Mass celebrated in America in 1565.
David has a graduate degree in engineering and attended dental school at the University of Kentucky. Allyson has a background in journalism and worked in public radio and television and media relations before returning to graduate school at the University of Tennessee. We are both faculty members at UK.
In March, April and May of 2020, we recorded Father Pat’s reflections. Allyson also met with him on Zoom and recorded some reflections, including the one where he gave the parish a tour of his home library. On Easter Sunday of 2020, we held Pax Christi’s first YouTube live stream of Father Larry celebrating the Easter Sunrise Service inside the church. It was just us, Father Larry, Father Pat and Melissa, but we knew hundreds of people were watching at home.
Once we knew we could have Mass again in the church with social distancing protocols, we talked about recording the Saturday evening Mass each week so it could be edited and uploaded to YouTube by 9 a.m. on Sunday and shared on the website and Facebook. This started May 30, 2020, and we’ve had a front row seat to record Mass ever since. In the beginning, we noticed the echo in the church could cause some audio issues, so Cindy ordered a device that plugs directly from our iPad into the sound system. It was on backorder for a couple of months because so many people and organizations were ordering equipment to live stream and hold virtual meetings.
In addition to the Saturday evening Mass, we’ve also recorded Masses on Holy Days of Obligation and made videos about returning to Mass and following COVID protocols. We also worked on the Week of Prayer videos in January that included the live ecumenical service during the Octave of Christian Unity where folks joined via Zoom, and Bishop John, Melissa and a few others were at Pax Christi.
We’ve had some help, and we’re so thankful for it! Ron Apor has also recorded and edited Masses during the past year, and Gloria Becker also has recorded with her new iPad that she actually purchased to help with the choir’s performances using the Acapella App, another great way we’ve stayed connected during this time. The Coons family has helped out a few times as well. There isn’t an official name for this new ministry, but when we tell people about it, we usually say it’s the “Audio/Visual Communications Committee,” and we welcome new members.
There were two standout moments during the past 15 months. The first was Father Pat contacting Allyson in December about meeting on Zoom to record his first video reflection in many months following his pancreatitis illness. It was so great to be able to see him again and share his thoughts with so many people who had missed him. The other moment that made the hours of editing and posting all worth it was a couple of months ago when an elderly couple who had come back to Mass in person for the first time told us we were doing the Lord’s work and how appreciative they were of us recording the Masses each week. We’ve also received some very nice emails from parishioners.
If anyone is interested in learning more about this ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or 859-556-2635. We would love to work with you!