Pastor's Letter for the January 17, 2021 Bulletin

Since mid-March of 2020, I have been learning more and more (little by little!) about ways of connecting our parish’s information with the world of the internet.  One of the key resources I have learning about is our Facebook page.  I have learned things that range from funny to eye-raising. 

For example, as an administrator of that account, I have access to statistics and information that is provided about people who visit our Facebook page.  I can see that many people when they view our parish Masses at the Facebook page will watch some of the initial content, scroll forward to the homily and then scroll forward to the end of the Mass!  I can also see who leaves comments, who rates a video with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and who adds an “emoji” to rate the video! 

At the same time, I realize from my own attempts to view other Facebook pages or other social media sites that sometimes you can press something on the screen of your “smart”-phone intending one thing and inadvertently sending one of those responses. 

I have also learned that the Facebook system has capability to censor some of our content.  For example, with our purchase of the hymnals and missalettes that we use we pay for license agreements allowing us to use those hymns repeatedly throughout the year and even make some photocopies of lyrics, etc., not for sale or making a profit from that but for facilitating using the hymns in our liturgies.  Evidently, however, we don’t necessarily have rights to play some hymns when we “live-stream” those liturgies.  You might notice that sometimes the audio goes silent when we have hymns like “On Eagle’s Wings” in funerals.  That has happened even when we simply had a CD playing instrumental background music for the sake of the pre-funeral ambience.

I appreciate, of course, the rights of the artists to compensation for their work. I am just a bit amazed that the social media platform can detect and censor the notes of background music!  And, most of us are probably well aware that many of these social media companies benefit from selling personal data they gather from their users. 

So, I am exploring other outlets/platforms for our parish content that are still easy to use – as Facebook is – but are a bit less intrusive and that don’t “monetize” our data. 

On a very different topic, please note that a little caravan of parishioners is developing to participate in a March for Life event on Saturday, January 23rd, at Noon in Geneva, Ohio, which is on the northeast side of Cleveland, about 2 ½ hours from Cambridge. See a notice about this in another part of the bulletin.

May the Lord continue to bless us with joy and peace as disciples of Jesus and to help us to be always ready for the gift of eternal life in Heaven!