Noël 1948: first televised mass at Notre-Dame de Paris
published on 21/12/2012 in 2012

64 years ago, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1948, a televised mass was held for the first time in the world: it was since Notre-Dame de Paris...

64 years ago, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1948, a televised mass was held for the first time in the world: it was since Notre-Dame de Paris...

It was at the initiative of Dominican Father Raymond PICHARD (1913-1992) that this first televised Mass was held. It was celebrated by Cardinal Emmanuel SUHARD (1874-1949), then Archbishop of Paris.

 

How did this event take place?

Father Raymond PICHARD was the assistant of Father Charles AVRIL, a Dominican, in charge of preaching at Masses of the National Radio. The producer was the organist Gaston LITAIZE.
On October 27, 1948, Father PICHARD suggested to the Director of National Television Programs that the Midnight Mass be broadcast from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. The latter agreed.
On November 18, 1948, Father APRIL, Father PICHARD and Gaston LITAIZE informed Cardinal SUHARD of their project. The latter agreed.
It should be noted that this project came from the Masses team at the National Radio (now Radio France).

Thus, at Christmas 1948, this first televised Mass was held at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. It was celebrated by Cardinal SUHARD. The commentator was Father PICHARD. The director was Claude BARMA. The first image, at the request of Father PICHARD, was the Virgin of the pillar.

Faced with the immense success of this "first", on Sunday, October 9, 1949, on the proposal of the French National Television, began the weekly Catholic television program, lasting 90 minutes, and including Mass. The producer was Father PICHARD who remained so until 1972. The director was Jean-Pierre CHARTIER until 1958. The show was christened: The Day of the Lordfrom Sunday, December 5, 1954.
Views of this first televised Mass are included in two films by Fr. PICHARD:
The Pope and Television (1949, 17'55'') and Thanks to....Television (1955, 55’).

Alain Carron de la Carrière, Dominican

 

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