When Covid-19 hit, we needed to launch our online streaming Mass quickly. The parish did not have the resources in place, but Jim Palen stepped up and took on the task. The St. Joseph community is truly grateful for his personal generosity and commitment.
Jim, how long have you been coming to St. Joseph Cathedral?
I’ve been a parishioner at St. Joseph Cathedral since Lent of 2013, when I felt called back into active participation in the faith after 11 years of being a non-active but still-believing Catholic, who during that 11 years led a relatively non-Catholic lifestyle.
What first attracted you to the Parish?
Honestly, its proximity to my apartment in Bankers Hill was probably the most obvious factor in my choosing the Cathedral as the parish of my re-awakened faith. But once I attended Mass there and very quickly was identified as a new face by St. Joseph’s Young Adult Group leader of that time, I found myself being invited to events with other young adults who made a guy in his late 20s feel like he belonged, and subsequently being invited to become a part of the group’s leadership team within just a few weeks. I don’t know what about me stood out to them, exactly, but accepting that role and growing back into my faith with fervor has made for the greatest and most meaningful personal comeback of my life, and the Cathedral will always be a part of that.
What have you especially missed during the quarantine?
I have been blessed to put some of my talents to work during the quarantine by being part of the group to initiate a live broadcast channel for the Cathedral, and by producing the live-streamed Mass for it. I am so humbled by this blessing and my heart aches daily that my fellow parishioners can’t participate as I know they not only want but need to. I miss the weekly rush to get a good seat in a pew near the front. I miss the struggle to find a parking spot that can fit my truck. I miss the crying babies in Mass. In short, I miss all those things we so often take for granted every Sunday we come to worship. I miss all our people coming to partake in God, together in the flesh.
During Covid-19, you have been managing our streaming video broadcasts. How did you get involved in that effort? How has it helped you stay involved with your faith?
As the lockdown was just budding, I was asked by a friend and parish staff member who knew of my familiarity with video to assist in doing the Cathedral’s first live broadcast, since she was out of the office and would be unable to manage it. Over the years my faith has taught me to say, “yes,” when God calls, and though I still am imperfect in always doing so, this was a time I believe I made the right decision in my response to Him.
What do you wish more people knew about our live-streamed Masses?
More than anything, I want people to know that even though some of us are blessed to participate in the production of live-streamed Masses, we want to reach a point where they are absolutely no longer a routine, and that our hearts burn in the desire and hope for our return to normal. We know no amount of Internet bandwidth could ever replace the Sunday obligation. We are a Church of God’s people, meant for physical togetherness and for a physical reception of Jesus in the Eucharist. And we will get there again.
St. Joseph Cathedral is currently offering a live online stream of every Mass it celebrates to keep parishioners and visitors as close to the Mass as possible. These online streams can be watched live by anyone via Facebook, even without a Facebook account (you do not have to be logged in to Facebook to watch a live stream). To check out these videos live and recorded, click the “LIVE STREAM” tab on the left side of the Cathedral website home page, or the “ONLINE MASS” image below the home page worship schedule (either will take you to the correct page).