Father Brian Sattler Honoring #HeroPriests

Father Brian Sattler | St. Anthony and St. Joseph Spokane, WA (previously St. Joseph Parish, Colbert, WA)

Submitted by: Anonymous

I am nominating Father Brian Sattler of St. Joseph Parish--Colbert, a small rural parish in Colbert, Washington, as a heroic priest during the pandemic because when public Masses were suspended due to the spreading coronavirus, he quickly learned how to live-stream Mass from the parish to Facebook. The fact that he was able to provide live-stream Mass doubly impressed me because Fr. Brian is the first to admit he is a very shy man (he might even say painfully shy), he had never even been on Facebook or any social media before, and had never done live video before. Streaming live to a social media audience when he wasn’t sure how was WAY outside his comfort zone, but, though there were myriad other online options for virtual Mass attendance already available, Fr. Brian recognized the need of his quarantined flock for not only the spiritual food but importance of continued community that only live connection to their own parish could provide. Reaching out to his flock in their isolation and uncertainties was very needed and appreciated. Father took the initiative to reach out to a couple parish volunteers who had some experience with social media and video and, with a little step-by-step guidance over the phone and internet, he quickly mastered the task. It wasn't technically perfect at first, but he was determined and persevered and the parishioners really responded positively to the efforts he was making for them. We all really knew how much he loved us and was continuing to pray with us and for us!

Public Masses in the Diocese of Spokane were suspended on Tuesday, March 17 and Fr. Brian live-streamed his first Mass on Sunday, March 22. He continued streaming not only each Sunday Mass, but all of Holy Week, and every daily Mass until his scheduled transfer to another parish at the end of June. With his last live-streamed Mass on June 30, Fr. Brian had live-streamed from St. Joseph’s 14 straight weeks for a total of 96 broadcasts!

St. Joseph Parish—Colbert first published its Facebook page in 2010 (Fr. Brian became our priest in 2015). Before the suspension of public Mass last spring, the parish Facebook page had only grown an audience of 177 page Followers and 175 page Likes over ten years and measured an average Reach (unique views of content) of 83. Over the comparatively brief time period of Father’s live-streams, the page audience grew to 321 Followers and 280 Likes with a peak Reach of 1,251! Particularly with the Holy Week and Sunday Masses, each Live viewer measured by Facebook during the broadcast likely constituted not one person, but a household/family. Also because Father took the initiative to begin live-streaming from St. Joseph’s, when funerals were allowed to resume within pandemic restrictions, it meant a great deal to family and friends—particularly as travel was still difficult--to be able to “attend” the funeral Mass of their loved one via the St. Joseph Facebook page live-stream.

Because he knew how important it was to bring the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from their own parish to the quarantined parishioners of St. Joseph—Colbert, Father Brian ignored his own personal discomfort, anxiety, and technical uncertainty and committed himself to live-streaming on Facebook to continue spiritually feeding Christ’s sheep. He jumped right in and began live-streaming from the first pandemic weekend through June 30, his last day assigned to our parish, having had no previous social media or live broadcast experience. This was not only going above and beyond what was required, but was outside his personal comfort zone and therefore constitutes, in my opinion, an heroic act.

Link to St. Joseph Parish--Colbert's Facebook page videos: https://www.facebook.com/www.stjosephcolbert.org/videos/?view_public_for=111615648875986&ref=page_internal

(Fr. Brian = priest with the brown hair. Priest with the white hair is Fr. Tom Connolly, our newly assigned priest.)

Father Brian has challenged me spiritually in a number of ways and by this, has forced me to more deeply delve into the teachings of Christ and His Church. I have no doubt Father Brian is a very holy man and a good priest. I am sure many parishioners would agree. He has done many good things for St. Joseph Parish--Colbert during his 5 years there, but specific to this nomination, I am sure the ability to attend Mass live with one's own parish community during a time of deep uncertainty and upheaval was definitely a positive for the faithful of our little parish community. It was for me and my family for sure!