Channel 7 to broadcast Sydney’s cathedral Easter liturgies

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP welcomes a girl at the Easter Sunday liturgy at St Mary’s Cathedral in 2018. While coronvirus has shut down the nation’s churches this year, Channel 7 announced on Wednesday it would nationally broadcast Good Friday’s Passion of the Lord service and Easter Sunday morning Mass from St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Catholics around Australia will be able to watch Easter services live on national television from St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

In a 7NEWS special, the top-rating network will stream The Lord’s Passion at 3pm on Good Friday and Easter Sunday Mass from 10.30am across the country on Channel 7, Prime 7 in regional areas, and live-streamed on 7plus.

Both liturgies will be broadcast commercial-free and in their entirety.

Archbishop welcomes move

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP welcomed the partnership, saying he was grateful to the network for recognising the importance to Catholics in the commemoration of Good Friday and the celebration of Easter Sunday Mass.

This is what Easter normally looks like: Pope Francis delivers his Easter blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 21 April last year. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

“These national broadcasts mean people of all ages and no matter where they live or are currently isolating, will now be able to participate in the Mass,” Archbishop Fisher said.

“I know it will be especially welcome news to those living in nursing homes and aged care facilities who will especially be feeling the sting of separation from family over Easter, due to the restrictions on visits, and whose connection to their faith remains strong.

“All Australians are experiencing hardship at this time as we seek to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and many people are being asked to make great sacrifices such as our health professionals working long hours and risking their own health.

Spanish Legionnaires carry a large image of the crucified Christ in the rain on 18 April 2019, outside a church in Malaga, Spain, during a Holy Week ceremony. This year, all such events have been halted due to the coronavirus epidemic. The closures of churches globally has hit Catholics and Christians everywhere. Photo: (CNS, Jon Nazca, Reuters

Sacrifice of faith

“Another sacrifice for people of faith is being unable to gather physically to celebrate the sacraments or even to spend time praying in a church. But by televising these services, it means we can spiritually come together to maintain our life of prayer and worship and strengthen our communion with one another.”

Network 10 broadcasts Mass for You at Home each Sunday at 6am. But aside from rare occasions such as the papal visits of popes Paul VI in 1970, John Paul II in 1986 and Benedict XVI for World Youth Day 2008, the live broadcast of Easter services on a national network in Australia is unprecedented.

“… By televising these services, it means we can spiritually come together”

Director of 7NEWS Sydney, Jason Morrison, said that Easter is the most sacred time of the year on the liturgical calendar.

“With public gatherings and church services currently closed in response to the pandemic, the 7NEWS team is proud to help the Church to bring these important services to homes across the country,” Mr Morrison said.

Those wanting to view the liturgies online can visit https://7plus.com.au/.

The cathedral continues to live-stream Mass daily at 9am and each Sunday at 10.30am at www.stmaryscathedral.org.au. It will also live-stream Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6.30pm on April 9 and The Stations of the Cross at 10am on Good Friday, April 10 as well as The Lord’s Passion liturgy and Easter Sunday Mass.

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