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Online Viewership Soars For Old St. Pat's Church In Chicago During Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With the stay-at-home order in effect, people of different faiths are finding alternative ways to worship.

Old St. Patrick's Church in the West Loop has seen online viewership soar as a result of the pandemic. Before shelter in place about 100 parishioners would watch the livestream of the church's 5 p.m. Sunday mass, and about 500 more would watch the recorded version during the week.

But on the first Sunday of the stay-at-home order, there were 5,000 live viewers of the 10 a.m. mass and between 20,000 and 30,000 replays in the following weeks.

The church says that viewership has remained consistent with people watching now from all over the world.

"We've had people in Italy, Ireland, Germany, Canada and only about 50% are actually in Illinois," said Old St. Patrick Church spokesperson Leanne Kelly. "We have a comment section that goes during the offering of peace. People type names and ask for us to keep individuals in their prayers. It's been sort of unbelievable just to see how many people are coming together and connecting."

Kelly said parishioners have shared the link widely, and that's why viewership has spiked so dramatically.

You can find the livestream here.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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