Facebook Blocks Brooklyn Parish From Livestreaming Masses

Tags: Currents Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Church, Catholic Community, Diocese of Brooklyn, Faith, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope 

José San Juan has worked in technology for 30 years, and he says he’s never seen anything like this: Sacred Heart-St. Stephens Mass, live streamed daily to hundreds, was ripped off from the web on January 22. The parish still remains blocked from broadcasting by Facebook. 

Why? Their pastor, Monsignor Guy Massie, isn’t so sure.

“It was needless to say a little bit annoying and my question was, what did we do wrong to get ourselves into this situation,” he asked.

The livestream began as a simple and seamless solution to the pandemic. DeSales Media, the communication and technology arm of the diocese of Brooklyn that operates NET-TV, came in to install several new cameras that allowed people to hear the Word of God in just a click. 

“They allowed us through DeSales’ program to stream simultaneously through Facebook Live, YouTube and our website,” José said. 

But all that effort was gone in an instant when big tech blocked every single one of the parish’s accounts from live streaming. 

“It’s taken away from our parishioners who have found this connection with religion, with God and they’ve already had so much taken away from them in the past year,” José explained. 

Currents News reached out to Facebook to ask why this connection has been banned, and were told their investigations team would be looking into it. 

Monsignor Massie is so proud when he talks about the church’s presence online, and the team that made it all possible.

“I am indebted to them. They have made this parish look very good and helped the leadership of this parish to still present the Gospel, still present Mass,” he said.

But why would a tech giant target a local church practicing their simple right to religious freedom? For José, until he knows the real reason, he is sticking with censorship.

“There’s nothing that we feel has stepped over any bounds except for maybe the amount of time we’ve broadcast, but even then there are no guidelines, no stipulations so if there are now please tell us,” he said.