Two Great Catholic Uses For Google+ Hangouts

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
So how are using Google+ as a Catholic?  What ideas do you have for incorporating Google+ features that could benefit your parish or group?
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Author:Brad West

I live in Palm Coast, FL with my family and have assisted my local parish with our website and communications. Our parishes today can benefit a great deal from technology. Whether it's improving communications, community building, evangelizing, business operations, and much more; we have the tools today. To help provide some direction and advice to parishes and parishioners, I wrote and published an eBook titled "The Connected Church" which is available through Barnes and Noble (Nooks and Nook apps) as well as Amazon (Kindle and Kindle apps).
  • http://twitter.com/inspiredangela Angela Santana

    Great post, Brad! I’ve discussed with Brandon Vogt the possibility of getting together Google+ hangouts of CathMedia persons just for prayer, offering up different projects and dioceses, and to be open to listening to the Holy Spirit. Just waiting on a spiritual director at this point.

    • Brad

      As time goes on and Diocese Communications departments evolve I see that being a huge benefit.  Really a great way for Diocese and parish volunteers focused on social media to share ideas and get help.  I also love the prayer aspect as a use.  

  • http://catholicyouthministryresources.com Eric Gallagher

    Definitely considering small groups, bible studies, etc on the Diocesan level for smaller parishes that only have a few youth that want to grow more and lead in the parish!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.ater Sean I. Ater

    Ha! Love your Google+ picture – that’s of me and my daughter : )