(Summary of article on www.ossory.ie, thanks to Ossory Adult Faith Development Group staff)
At a time of much debate about the future of the Church in Ireland one might be forgiven for believing that there is not much good news to be heard.
However, a closer look at the life of the church in Ossory reveals a very different picture. Through the auspices of the Ossory Adult Faith Development Group, CreateText.ie is helping the local church to communicate the centuries old message of the Gospel in new and exciting ways.
In response to an innovative outreach project during Lent, almost two thousand people right across the diocese signed up to receive a daily text on their mobile phones. The texts consisted of short biblical reflections accompanied by an invitation to reflect during that day.
Adult Faith Development Secretary, Martina Lawlor, is in charge of the initiative, “The service is very easy to use and the office support at the start got us going without a problem.” Geraldine Walsh from Killaloe near Callan, who signed up for the service, said that ‘the text service provided a simple and effective method of prayer during Lent even while on the move.’ and ‘the service gave her the sense of sharing something very special with many other people right across the diocese’.
Director of Adult Faith Development, Fr Dermot Ryan believes the service has been a success as a result of its simplicity and accessibility. He noted “already other community groups such as local GAA clubs and indeed our schools are using this technology to great benefit so it is only logical that we should do likewise”. Owena Grimes from Bennettsbridge parish, a teacher in Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny and a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council remarked that “everyone, young and not so young has access to a mobile phone today and texting is now just part of our lives. People are still very open to receiving the good News of Jesus Christ which continues to offer hope especially in these difficult times”.
Bishop Seamus Freeman even got in on the act when he used the bulk SMS message service to convey Easter Sunday Greetings to the great joy and surprise of many throughout the diocesan community. The text service will continue to operate in the future conveying details of some upcoming events organised by the Faith Development Group and following on the success of the Diocesan initiative, Ballycallan Parish has now introduced its own text service.
Speaking about this new innovation, parishioner and transition year student Nicholas Dunphy said that “many young people had signed up for the parish text service and thought the idea was brilliant keeping them in touch with all the goings on in the parish during the week”.
With the new text service successfully up and running, Ossory Adult Faith Development has said that it will continue to explore new ways of being part of the ‘new evangelisation’ of the church to the contemporary world. Further information on the activities of the Ossory Adult Faith Development Group is available on the diocesan website: www.ossory.ie