As news of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, spread throughout the world, Father Daniel Jordan began to think the virus might affect Mass attendance.

So as its spread went from an outbreak to an epidemic to a pandemic, he wanted to do something to keep his northern Vermont congregations together if only electronically.

Earlier this month he began live streaming on Facebook Masses from All Saints Church in Richford, one of five churches he serves as parochial vicar.

And now that public Masses have been suspended in the Diocese of Burlington because of the pandemic, Father Jordan plans to live stream Masses from the private chapel at his residence, All Saints rectory, beginning March 20. They are to be available Monday through Friday at 8 a.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 8:15 a.m.

“I thought it might come down to this” (no public Masses), so I was being proactive,” said the priest who also serves St. John the Baptist Church in Enosburg Falls, St. Anthony Church in Sheldon Springs, St. Mary Church in Franklin and St. Isidore Church in Montgomery Center.

The live-streamed Masses are a way “to bring the parish liturgy to people not at Mass,” he said, noting that he originally wanted to do this for shut-ins, those in self-quarantine and those concerned about sickness — not just the coronavirus. “It’s a way to keep in touch with parishioners,” he said, “and let them know the church is still here for them.”

Father Jordan is “OK” with technology, though “not a whiz,” he said, so even when he has had difficulty with the signal or the technology, the challenges are “worth it because we are bringing the celebration of the Eucharist — the source and summit of our Christian life — to people who are not able to be there.”

And especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said it is even more important to “get the Good News out there” whether comfortable or not with the technology.

Celebrating Mass without a congregation is “not the same” as having people in the pews in front of him, but the live-streamed Mass “gives some sense of the ritual of the Mass,” Father Jordan said. “In some mystical and electronic way, we are together.”

Though he will miss his congregation during these times of social distancing, Father Jordan said keeping in touch through the live-streamed Mass is beneficial and could still be used to share parish Masses online after public Masses resume.

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