In response to a special request from U.S. military serving in Afghanistan, NBC 10 Philadelphia announced that it will live stream a Christmas Eve Mass from St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Gibbsboro, N.J., on www.nbcphiladelphia.com at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24. The special Mass will also air live on NBC Philadelphia Nonstop, the station's digital channel.
The parishioners of St. Andrew's recently adopted a unit of soldiers based in an isolated area of Afghanistan. With no military chaplain to celebrate Christmas Mass, the service men and women reached out to St. Andrews for guidance. Kathy Emrich, a St. Andrew's parishioner and pastoral coordinator of public relations, contacted NBC 10 to see if the station could assist.
Embracing the opportunity to help the U.S. military, NBC 10 will broadcast the Mass live from St. Andrews with the use of five cameras and three production trucks. The Mass will be simulcast live on www.nbcphiladelphia.com and NBC Philadelphia Nonstop.
The time difference between the U. S. and Afghanistan presented a unique challenge for St. Andrews. In the Catholic faith, Christmas Eve Mass cannot be celebrated before 4 p.m., which would have required the service members to stay up until the late hour of 1:30 a.m. St. Andrew's Rev. Msgr. Louis A. Marucci requested and received special permission from Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden, N.J., to celebrate a special Christmas Eve Mass at the earlier hour of 2 p.m. EST to accommodate the time difference. This earlier time will allow troops in Afghanistan to enjoy an 11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass.
"This is an incredible opportunity for us to give back to the military men and women serving our country overseas at this special time of year." said Jim Barger, vice president of broadcast operations and engineering at NBC 10. "If we hadn't been contacted by St. Andrews, we wouldn't have known there was a need. We're thrilled to collaborate with them and so pleased we can make this happen."
"NBC 10 should be commended for their immediate response and their ongoing support of the troops," Marucci said. "In addition, they should be commended for their support of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish efforts to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of our soldiers, especially at this special time of year."