Bishop’s Annual Appeal: TV Mass keeps people connected

Residents at Guardian Angels Riverview Landing in Otsego gather every Wednesday morning in the building’s chapel to watch the televised Mass, thanks to the pastoral team at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Elk River.

The facility, which features independent and assisted living and memory care units, doesn’t have a priest who visits regularly, so residents often watch the diocesan TV Mass on a big screen. They are given worship aids when they arrive so everyone can sing and participate. They enjoy being part of a worshiping community, especially since they are able to receive Communion together during Mass like they would at their home parish.

Randy Bayerl, a member of the pastoral team along with Betsy Clark and Kevin O’ Connell, recently started showing the diocesan Mass instead of simply having a Communion service alone. He uses his laptop to download the TV Mass from a Google Drive account set up by the Diocese of St. Cloud’s Worship Office and then connects it to the audio/video system in the chapel.

“We had been doing Communion services for them,” Bayerl said. “But I think this is what the people are desiring. Obviously, the Mass is such a beautiful fulfillment of the living Word of God, number one. And number two, when you can receive Communion along with watching it, that’s the unique part.”

“It gives us such peace,” resident Jan Petersen said through tears. “It’s just like being at a real service, I mean you’re still getting the Word, it’s still really making you appreciate it,” she said.

Petersen said she and her husband, who are members of St. Andrew Parish, usually come to watch the Mass when it’s available and then receive Communion together.

Randy Bayerl from St. Andrew in Elk River distributes Communion to residents at Guardian Angels Riverview Landing in Otsego.

“We just love it and are just so thankful that we can have it here. It’s meant a lot to us,” she said.

Father Mark Innocenti, pastor of St. Andrew, saw that residents in some care facilities in the area couldn’t make it to church and were unable to access the TV Mass by themselves, Bayerl said.

“This is our way of making sure that they feel connected, that’s very important from Father Mark’s perspective as a priest and shepherd of our parish,” Bayerl said. “He wanted to reach those who desire to be part of our church but for whatever reason are physically not able to get there.”

Catholic residents at Riverview Landing — and also at Elk River Senior Living in Elk River, the other site where Bayerl brings the TV Mass and Communion — are becoming more engaged in their faith, he said.

“They liked participating from the get-go, whether it was a Communion service or this, but what I have seen that’s different is the higher level of engagement,” Bayerl said.

Residents Joanne and Frank Ripley attend Sunday Mass at St. Andrew, but are happy to have the TV Mass available during the week, too. “It’s one extra day a week that we can come,” Joanne said.

“I’m very appreciative of the facilities for being open to providing this,” Bayerl said. “[The residents] want to be a part of our diocese. It’s beautiful.”

Volunteers gather every other week at the Pastoral Center in St. Cloud to record the TV Mass, which is supported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. It is broadcast Sunday mornings throughout the diocese, sent on DVD to area nursing homes and care facilities and also can be viewed on the diocesan website


The Diocese of St. Cloud’s televised Mass reaches nearly all households in the diocese through network programming on KSTC-45 each Sunday morning. Featuring local priests, musicians, and lectors, this Mass is an opportunity for homebound parishioners to stay connected to their faith and the diocese as a whole.


Charter Spectrum Cable Channel 178 in the St. Cloud area no longer offers playback services of the Diocesan TV Mass.

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Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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