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Parish’s livestream Mass brings Maree home to the Church after eight years away

Maree Hyde: “So I said to my dad, ‘I couldn’t go to church but church sort of found me through online Mass’.”

MAREE Hyde was getting used to life without Sunday Mass until a comment she read on Facebook four months ago turned her into a nearly daily virtual Mass-goer.

Miss Hyde’s mum, a member of the Caloundra Catholic Parish, had left a comment on the community’s live-streamed Mass, which the parish have offered on their Facebook page since March 19.

“Mum had commented on their church online Mass, and I sort of thought it’d be interesting for me to watch it,” Miss Hyde said.

“I started watching it almost everyday.”

The 40 year old, who was born Catholic, said she had been to the Caloundra parish once before with her parents, but had not been to regular Sunday Mass for nearly eight years.

“I went to church until I was in my teens, and stopped going,” Miss Hyde said.

“I went here and there over the years with my mum and dad, but I don’t really have a way to get to church – I don’t know any other Catholics and I don’t have the transport at the moment.

“I was getting used to not going to Mass, not that I think I stopped believing in God, it’s just that I wasn’t going to church.

Miss Hyde said the daily readings and homilies from the four priests – including parish priest Fr Peter Brannelly, Fr Josh Whitehead, Fr Lam Vu, and Fr Joseph-Hien Van Vo – helped her rediscover her faith.

“With the online Masses I started to form a stronger spiritual connection,” she said.

“Even though I’m not really there and we do spiritual communion, it still feels like I’m attending.

“So I said to my dad, ‘I couldn’t go to church but church sort of found me through online Mass’.”

Miss Hyde said after watching online Mass for several months, she “couldn’t wait to go to confession”.

Digital future: Behind the scenes of Caloundra parish’s live-stream recording set up, where associate priest Fr Lam Vu is offering Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary church. Photo: Fr Josh Whitehead

“I couldn’t wait to go to confession because I hadn’t been in a long time and, actually go to Communion,” Miss Hyde said.

“That happened when I went and visited my parents last month.

“It was a good experience to go to confession because it’s made me a little bit more aware of myself and the way I live as a person.”

She said live-stream Mass could also be a God-send for older Catholics who, like her, have no way of getting to Mass.

“I think it’s good for other people as well that can’t get to church, especially the elderly and the sick,” she said.

“They might be in a situation where they can’t get to church as well.”

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