Change coming to Mass of the Air

Technical director McGee Wathen, left, and David Boice, film team member, monitored audio and visual feeds while filming Mass of the Air Nov. 30 at St. Patrick Church. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

Mass of the Air will have a new home come January.

The weekly Sunday broadcast will begin airing on WDRB at 10:30 a.m. in the new year and cease airing on WHAS.

It will continue to broadcast on WBKI at 9 a.m., WNKY at 10 a.m. CST and on the Faith Channel at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Broadcasts are also available on the Mass of the Air website www.massoftheair.com and its YouTube channel.

Deacon Mark Rougeux, executive director, said Mass of the Air was broadcast on WHAS for around 25 years. But the company has changed hands several times and moved its engineering production to Atlanta, making it challenging to work with.

Joan Huber, one of the floor directors for Mass of the Air, looked on while Mass was being recorded at St. Patrick Church Nov. 30. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

So when WDRB recently approached Deacon Rougeux about switching networks, he considered.

“WDRB has a bigger audience,” Deacon Rougeux said. “And we’ve been tremendously supported by WDRB. …They’re a bunch of Catholics down there. They’re excited to have us and make this switch as pain-free as possible.”

WDRB is already running the first of more than 700 promos advertising the upcoming change.

Avid viewers might have already noticed a change in the filming location of the Mass of the Air.

The Masses are typically filmed in the Ursuline Motherhouse Chapel on Lexington Road, where permanent cameras are stationed and lighting is always in place. However, the Motherhouse is being painted and the renovations require scaffolding and platforms.

Deacon Butch Kinsella, far left, and Father Tim Tobin celebrated Mass at St. Patrick Church Nov. 30 while filming for Mass of the Air. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

“We had to find another location,” Deacon Rougeux said. He and McGee Wathen, Mass of the Air technical director, are members of the St. Patrick Church community. Deacon Rougeux said Wathen already “knows the system, camera angles, lighting.” All they needed was “the blessing of the St. Patrick team and they very happily welcomed us.”

The location change isn’t expected to be permanent. Renovations at the Ursuline Motherhouse are expected to wrap up in late summer 2023, so Deacon Rougeux anticipates filming at St. Patrick until July or August.

Deacon Rougeux believes Mass of the Air is the longest-running diocesan-produced Mass telecast in the country. Long before the pandemic normalized streaming church services, viewers who are unable to attend Mass in person have relied on Mass of the Air to tune in to weekly liturgies.

The program is entirely viewer-funded. Donations are used to purchase air time and equipment, the deacon said. And the priests and deacons who celebrate the Masses are “very generous with their time,” he said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Deacon Butch Kinsella gave a homily while filming Mass of the Air at St. Patrick Church Nov. 30. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

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