The Diocese of Bridgeport has launched a mobile phone app that will allow smart-phone users to download information and obtain the latest news about their faith.
It is available free on the app store and on Google play for Android use.
The app is also designed to engage young people in their faith in new ways and has a section designated “youth.”
“People throughout the diocese have told us that they want to see the Church on social media, which is the new marketplace of communication in our culture,” Bishop Frank Caggiano said. “Our youth along with many adults have urged us to use social media to engage, inform and inspire people of faith.”
Bishop Caggiano said the diocesan app will foster communication between the parishes and throughout the diocese by providing a central location where events, news, and information can be shared on a modern and widely used medium.
The app will also let people search for parishes based on their GPS location, access news and events, and view a daily devotional as well as parish and school directions and information, and connections to diocesan social media accounts.
“The goal is to bring people throughout our diocese together and to help build communities of faith,” he said.
Newly named diocesan social media leader, John Grosso, said the app has specific features that allow parishioners, both young and old, to connect to service opportunities, prayer and formation groups, and community service opportunities.
“Reflecting a renewed push by the bishop to engage the youth as an integral part of our church,” he said, “there is an entire section of the app where young people can find opportunities to engage in their parish and the diocese, from information on youth groups, to mission trips, and a section titled, ‘Ask the Bishop.’”
There are also features on the diocesan Synod and the ministry of Bishop Caggiano, including his homilies and videos. A section on Catholic Life provides videos on the faith.
“Our hope is that the app will serve as a tool for evangelization and enrichment in our lives as Catholic Christians in today’s culture,” Mr. Grosso said.
The app will include “Find a Parish” and “Find a School” information that links visitors to online application forms, event registrations, directions and other information.
The app was designed and produced by Deacon Patrick Toole of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield. The design includes the development of a secure private website or “hub,” which lets parishes upload and update key information on a regular basis. Other dioceses have expressed interest in adopting the app and hub design, he said.
Bishop Caggiano said the app was developed in response to requests by people who attended the Synod sessions.
“I am most grateful to Deacon Toole for not only funding the project but also for providing the leadership and vision needed to build the app, which offers much promise for our diocese,” the bishop said.
The app was pre-released to Synod delegates and parish representatives last month. Diocesan employees and youth members of the Synod have also field-tested it.
“It’s not easy to capture the breadth of the diocese on a small mobile phone,” Mr. Toole said, “but the use of social media has enormous possibilities to invite people into the sacramental life of the Church.”