This past year I read a great book by Jennifer Haigh called “Faith”. The story begins in Boston in the 50’s and I remember this one little part standing out to me. The Mother in the story gets her rosary, sits next to an open window in her apartment, and participates in a group rosary prayer lead by Bishop Sheen over the radio. Those who remember Bishop Sheen know that he had one of the most watched TV shows and was popular on radio as well. I remember thinking what a great use of media that was available at that time. So here we are are today, 60 years later, with media technology that allows us to reach far wider audiences in much more effective ways, and we’re starting to see a great deal of people getting creative in terms of making that happen with our Catholic communities.
Many Catholics have been using Google+. In fact, it’s my largest ‘Circle’ on the service with over 150+ people. Some have been trying to figure out ways the service can benefit parishes and the Church in general. Three interesting ideas recently came up and I thought I’d share them:
- Rosary ‘Hangouts’. Father Cory Sticha (yup, lots of Priest are using Google+) recently came up with this idea and held the first Google+ Rosary Hangout (that I know of). This is a great idea for parish groups, those that are homebound/hospitalized, friends/family in different parts of the country, etc. to pray together. The Hangout feature in Google+ allows for both audio and video which makes it perfect. There are limitations such as the maximum number of participants is 10. Others have found workarounds to broadcast these Hangouts to more viewers (who can only view) if you are techventurous (yes, I just made that word up). Click here to see Jeff Lebow’s instruction to broadcast a Hangout.
- Meetings when scheduling and/or facilities are a challenge (Hangouts With Extras). When you start a ‘Hangout’ there’s a link that appears down towards the middle of the window below the video frame that says “Hangouts With Extras”. This feature allows you to name the ‘hangout’ to your meeting name and also share documents from Google documents right within the Hangout. So you can not only discuss things, but also share and exchange documents. No printing a bunch of copies before hand and what not wasting time, money, and supplies. What a great way to have a small scripture discussion right?