Virtual presence at Basilica Mass grows amid suspension of public Masses

Author: Dan Skendzel

Basilica Mass
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is closed to the public indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Mass is said there daily and live-streamed. Thousands of people a day view the Mass online. (Above photos by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

It's strange to see Mass celebrated in an empty church, but don't let the photo fool you. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people are participating in daily Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart over the internet. 

In mid-March, bishops at dioceses across the country suspended public Masses to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the coronavirus. Since then, the number of people tuning into the live-streamed (and recorded) Mass at the Basilica has grown exponentially. 

On March 1, the first Sunday of Lent, 778 people watched Mass on the Catholic TV website. The past two Sundays, about 12,000 people virtually attended each Mass.

Attendance at weekday Mass is also impressive, with an average of 2,700 views a day last week.

Click for more information on the Basilica Masses.