Mass communication – fibre enablesTyrone church to go global Christmas day

23 Dec 2011

Father Peter McAnenly (centre) prepares for the webcast of the Christmas masses from St Patrick's Church in Eglish along with the parish's Pioneer Association President Brian Jordan (right) and web engineer Paul McNichol

A Catholic church in Tyrone will be live streaming its Christmas masses to the diaspora around the world through the use of fibre broadband.

The congregation of a County Tyrone church is due to swell this weekend thanks to the help from BT with the provision of fibre broadband to allow live internet streaming of the Christmas Masses.

St Patrick’s RC Church in Eglish has been thrown a lifeline by the telecoms giant with the installation of fibre broadband to the 177 year-old church and the upgrade of a neighbouring home’s internet connection to fibre to allow the live broadcasting to take place.

The idea to open Eglish mass to a global audience is the brainchild of the parish’s Pioneer Association who earlier this year arranged for the broadcast of mass on Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence celebrated by Fr Aidan Troy when he visited the village as part of Temperance weekend.

Eglish, like so many towns and village has witnessed the departure this year of scores of young people who have left to find work overseas due to the recession. It was this that that spurred the dynamic Pioneer group to make the exiles feel part of home even though they are thousands of miles away.

Brian Jordan, President of the Pioneer Association said that this Christmas the village will have scores of people apart from their families who are working abroad. He added that the highest concentration of Eglish ex-pats is in Australia who will see the Christmas Eve Mass in the early hours of Christmas morning due to the time difference.

Making the Christmas connection

“We are very grateful to a number of people for helping to make this happen. It is such a huge boost for our church with scores of people overseas as well as others who have moved from the area being able to take part in the biggest mass of the year.”

“When we contacted BT, at very late notice, they pulled out all the stops to help us as did the neighbouring family whose fibre broadband connection we are using”

Brian added that the biggest dilemma was getting a connection to the church as a busy road had to be crossed over and it was too far for wireless to work.

Jordan said it makes it all the more special this year as part of the vigil mass includes children from the nearby Roan and Derrylatinee School who are performing a special nativity scene. The mass will be celebrated by newly installed parish priest Fr Peter McAnenly.

“It has caused a great excitement in the village with residents contacting their absent loved ones with the details of how to watch masses.”

The trial will commence for the Christmas Eve mass at 7.30 p.m. and continue for the Christmas Day mass at 11.00 a.m. right through to the end of January when even daily masses will be shown.

The St Patrick’s Church Eglish streaming can be viewed through or by clicking on the link at

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years