There’s a phrase Father Bob Langone, SA, tells most people he meets, as it’s proven true in his life:
“God lets nothing go to waste.”
Father Bob attended Syracuse University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and advertising. But he was called to vocation, receiving his habit in 1983 and taking his final vows in 1988, joining the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.
However, the technical skills he learned in college are now being put to good use. Father Bob has mastered the art of livestreaming, and his Sunday 10 a.m. Masses are broadcast over Facebook from his parish of Saint Joan of Arc in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for hundreds to view each week.
“If you put it out there,” Father Bob said of his multimedia talent, “God will find a way to use it.”
Upon becoming Pastor at Saint Joan of Arc in January, 2020, Father Bob thought about livestreaming as a means to reach out to his parish community. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and gatherings of large crowds ceased, the concept only made sense.
At first, Father Bob mostly operated everything himself, with some assistance from Associate Pastor Father Ken Cienik, SA. Using just a music stand and a tablet, along with applications on his smart watch, he streamed his Sunday Mass celebrations.
Although, at first he had to overcome some initial technical difficulties.
“One time it was just Father Ken and myself and I got a notice from Facebook saying I had to use a browser, like Firefox. I had to download a new browser and I was 20 minutes late downloading the browser and setting it up,” Father Bob explained.
He told the congregation watching live to pray among themselves before fixing the problem.
The production has since become even more advanced, as Father Bob obtained a more state-of-the-art camera, and incorporated music into the production. The church’s choir director approached him and asked to provide accompaniment with hymns mixed and recorded on to an MP3 file, which is played during Mass.
The response from the virtual congregation, he added, has been superb.
“My aunt in the Boston area watches, people in my former parish in Virginia watch,” Father Bob said. “One of my friends who lives in North Carolina watches. I get all these ‘Thank yous.’”
Father Bob has not only livestreamed his Sunday Masses, but has expanded with weddings, funerals and baptisms and bible study programs.
To watch Father Bob’s 10 a.m. Sunday Masses, visit Facebook.com/JoanOfArcToronto