2017-01-27 / Community

App available to Good Shepherd Parish members

By Anthony Aloisio
Contributing Writer

Good Shepherd Parish announced on its Facebook page that it launched an app that will aid members in fostering a “stronger parish life.” (Courtesy photo)Good Shepherd Parish announced on its Facebook page that it launched an app that will aid members in fostering a “stronger parish life.” (Courtesy photo)SACO – Good Shepherd Parish, along with other southern Maine parishes, has begun using a smartphone app with features that aim to help Catholics keep better connected with the parish.

According to Dave Guthro, communications director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, use of the app was initiated at the level of the diocese.

“The diocese entered into an agreement with myParish, a division of Diocesan Publications, to create the customized app for all 55 Maine parishes,” Guthro wrote in an email. “Thanks to a partnership between myParish and FAITH Catholic, which hosts the diocesan website, there is no cost associated with this initiative for parishes, including maintenance and server costs.”

Guthro wrote that the initiative wasn’t a solution to any specific difficulty, but instead just a way to follow the progress of technology. He cited research showing that 70 percent of American adults own smartphones to illustrate the purpose the app serves.

More locally, Good Shepherd Parish Pastoral Life Coordinator Liz Williams, who has taken the role of administering the app for the parish, is enthusiastic about using the app, which she said started around Jan. 6 this year.

“I love technology, and I think it’s great that we’re finding another way to connect with our families and our parishioners,” Williams said. “We have to stay up to date.”

The app has 14 main features aimed at facilitating various parts of Catholic life. One of those features is messaging, which allows the parish to send information to parishioners centrally. Williams said that she’s taken a conservative attitude with that feature.

“Myself, I have other apps, and sometimes you get tired of pushing things and you shut it off,” she said. “So, when we do it we’ve got to have a specific reason for it.”

Another feature gives parishioners easy access to daily readings. Williams said that is important to a lot of people.

“There was one gentleman who let me know right away, he brings the Eucharist to people in the hospital and homebound people, and he was able to just pull the readings up on his phone,” she said. “To us that’s a phenomenal thing, to him, he was so excited about it.”

Similarly, the app has easy access to prayers. That same feature even allows users to send prayer requests to their priests.

“I’ve had people using that already,” Williams said. “This gets forwarded to all our priests, and they pray for the people who have sent in requests.”

More of a relief than a convenience, she said the app also has important alerts.

“If you plug in the mass that you’re going to 20 minutes before, it jingles and says ‘don’t forget to shut your phone off,’” Williams said. “Trust me, this is a good thing. At Mass, when the phones go off, I always feel so bad for the people.”

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