The following information was supplied by Susan Gibbs, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington in response to a reader who asked how they can help turn back a possible decision to cancel the TV Mass for shut-ins. The original article appeared in this blog here: ORIGINAL ARTICLE Ms. Gibbs’ response was posted in the comments section but in case you missed it, I want also to include it out here on the main page:
Thank you to everyone interested in helping the Mass. The archdiocese is committed to continuing to offer this ministry, though the cost of moving to a broadcast station, which is important to reach our homebound and elderly viewers, is really significant (it could be as high as $100,000 per year). In addition, it can be very difficult to move viewers to a new station. The Mass has been on air in the DC area for 60 years, and on WHUT since the mid-1990s.
We have been working with the Shrine on seeking a production grant, which would help if we could get it. Unlike televangelist programs, the Mass does not solicit donations on-air through an 800 number. This program truly is a service to the elderly and homebound so they can attend Mass (we have Catholic and non-Catholic viewers).
In terms of next steps, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith groups are seeking a meeting with PBS. From what we understand, PBS reportedly has decided to implement membership policies that date to 1985 (24 years ago), but were never implemented. The policies would prevent their member stations from including religious programming as part of overall community programming, even if the local community wants it. Our Mass features participants from around the Washington region (DC, MD and VA) so it’s definitely a local program anda community service.
If you want to weigh in, the contact at WHUT is Jennifer Lawson, [email protected]. WHUT has been a wonderful partner in providing this community service since the mid-1990s. This change would be a real loss to our viewers.
Finally, if you are interested in being a part of the congregation, please join us. The next taping is June 4, 7:30 p.m. (we tape two half-hour Masses so expect to be there until 8:45 p.m.) at the Basilica Crypt Church. Email [email protected] if if you want a schedule for the tapings.