The Archdiocese of Brisbane is to commence webcasting AUSLAN signed Sunday masses on a regular basis starting from April 10 (Palm Sunday).
A team of two AUSLAN interpreters will sign Archbishop Coleridge celebrating the 10.00am Mass, specifically for the webcast audience at home.
The initiative has been taken on at a diocesan level because of the greater AV and web-streaming capacity found at St Stephen’s.
It builds upon the trailblazing work of the Dorrington Parish and Central Deanery, who previously held AUSLAN signed masses on a quarterly basis for the best part of a decade.
In moving to the Cathedral, which has been streaming a standard webcast of the 10.00am Sunday Mass since 2013, the AUSLAN signers will expand the reach and “on-demand” capacity of the liturgy.
The Cathedral is now well served by a group of 6 internal and 2 external cameras to better cover the liturgy.
During COVID19 lockdown it bolstered the number of streamed services from 1 to 8 per week, including the 8.00am Mass each weekday, the Sunday 8.00am and the Marian Mass on Saturday.
Adrian Taylor, one of around 10 Cathedral volunteers involved in the webcast ministry, said while the AUSLAN signing will add to the technical complexity of streaming, it was a welcome addition.
“This is an era that strives for inclusion, and people are accustomed to AUSLAN interpreters being positioned alongside political leaders or the police and emergency services for big announcements.
“So too the Mass should be something that is available to everyone and doesn’t present barriers.”
“We now have the means to position the interpreter ‘camera within camera’ in a such a way that it will not be intrusive.
“It’s definitely possible to serve both audiences; those with or without a hearing impairment.
“Throughout the COVID19 lockdowns we came to realise there is a dedicated and devoted audience out there, and we welcome the chance to add to it by serving those who need the AUSLAN signing service as well, both locally or from further afield,” he said.
The Archdiocese did experience a trial run using AUSLAN interpreters late last year, when it hosted the closing Mass for the First Assembly of the Plenary Council.
A mandatory condition of hosting was an AUSLAN service be provided for those viewers with hearing impairment.
On that occasion the Archdiocese relied upon a pair of AUSLAN signers operating in tandem remotely from NSW and Victoria. Their interpreting work was beamed in via Zoom.
For the audience at home the result was seamless, and benefitted from interpreters who had a specific knowledge of the terminology used in the Mass.
Such knowledge and experience has now been locally sourced through Deaf Services Queensland and a series of standing bookings established to cover the new series of Masses.
Whilst the hearing impaired are welcome to attend in person at the Cathedral, they should be aware the Interpreters will be stationed near a camera and have the webcast uppermost in their mind.
This positioning is also to enable them to have a good line of sight to the Cathedra, the ambo and the altar. As a consequence, they will not be visible to all in the Cathedral.
For the remainder of 2022, AUSLAN signed Masses are planned for June 5, August 7, October 9 and December 4.
In 2023 further thought will be given to whether it is best to hold them monthly or bi-monthly.