Telemundo, Archdiocese collaborate for weekly televised broadcast
By NADIA MARIA SMITH
CS&T Staff Writer
The Office for Hispanic Catholics, along with Telemundo WWSI-TV 62 – Digital 49, has announced that the airing of the first televised Spanish-language Sunday Mass in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will take place Sunday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. Cardinal Justin Rigali will be the celebrant of the Mass.
The Mass will reach 177,000 Hispanic households in the five counties within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It will also reach viewers in Allentown, Reading, the Lehigh Valley and Southern New Jersey.
“It is such an evangelization opportunity and a blessing at this time,” said Anna Vega, the director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics. “There are people who can’t get to church because they are sick or homebound. Sometimes caretakers can’t leave either. This Mass will help all those people.”
“The Cardinal is sending out the message that as our shepherd he really cares about us,” she added.
Msgr. Hugh Shields, the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, also points to the elderly who are in nursing homes or hospitals and cannot get to church on Sundays as another group that will greatly benefit from the television Mass.
“Participating in the TV Mass is a way for them to stay connected with the Church that loves them and wants to serve them,” Msgr. Shields said. “We say we pray best in the first language of the heart – so for the Hispanic elderly this is a way of praying on Sunday with the rest of the community at large.”
Jorge Fernandez, a Catholic businessman and member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Buckingham, proposed the joint venture, bringing the Office of the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics and Telemundo together. He was thrilled that after several years of trying to make this dream a reality it is now happening, he said.
“The Holy Spirit is always working in all of us,” he said. “After speaking to Spanish-speaking parishioners and immigrants, I know that they are thrilled with the news of the Mass because many of them work in the service sector, so they miss the Holy Mass. Now they can at least witness the santa misa before they go to work in the early morning. It’s a service to the believers who can’t get to Mass for whatever reason.”
Msgr. Shields added that the televised Mass “will also serve to reach those people who, for whatever reason, cannot attend Mass on a regular basis. They will be able to stay in touch with the Scriptures and celebration of the Eucharist through the TV Mass. [It means that] the word of God will continue to be alive for them and that the Catholic Church continues to reach out to them.”
Telemundo is thrilled to be able to televise a Spanish-language Mass because “there is a need for it and it was a need that wasn’t being met,” said Clara Rivas, the network’s general manager.
ZGS Communications, a Hispanic-owned broadcasting company headquartered in Arlington, Va., that currently owns and operates the largest group of Telemundo affiliates, is “incredibly committed to the community. They are very happy to donate the slot time to air the Mass,” she said. “We are very excited to be able to offer [it].”
For more information contact the Office for Hispanic Catholics at (215) 667-2820. For the televised Mass schedule, call Telemundo at (215) 634-8862 or go to www.wwsi-tv.com.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at email@example.com or (215) 965-4614.