The Diocese of Bridgeport has launched its new mobile phone app, which will allow smart phone users in Fairfield County and anywhere in the world to download information and the latest diocesan news.
It is available free of charge on the App Store for the iPhone and on the Google Play Store for Android use.
The app will allow users to search for parishes based on their GPS location, access diocesan news and events, and view a daily devotional. It will also allow them to search for parish and school directions and information, and connect to diocesan social media accounts.
“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 Caggiano said. “Our youth along with many adults have urged us to use social media to engage, inform and inspire people of faith.”
The Bishop said the new Diocesan App is designed to foster communication between the parishes and throughout the diocese. Its major purpose is to provide a central location where events, news, and information can be shared on a modern and widely used medium.
“The goal is to bring people throughout our diocese together and to help build communities of faith,” said the Bishop.
Newly named Social Media Leader of the diocese, John Grosso, said that 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 young church, there is an entire section of the app, entitled “Youth.” In this section, youth can find a variety of opportunities to engage into their local parish and the diocese as a whole, from information on youth groups, to mission trips, and a section where they can “Ask the Bishop,” Grosso said.
There are features that also allow users to keep up with the progress of the Synod, or to stay in touch with the ministry of Bishop Caggiano through his homilies and videos. Finally, a section on Catholic Life allows users to view regularly updated videos on the Catholic faith.
“Though a large leap in terms of technology for the Diocese, the major hope is that the app will serve as a tool for evangelization and enrichment in our lives as Catholic Christians in today’s culture,” Grosso said.
The new mobile app was designed and produced by Deacon Patrick Toole of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield. The unique design includes the development of a secure private website or “hub” designed by Deacon Toole, which enables parishes to upload and update key information on a regular basis. Other dioceses have already expressed interest in adopting the App and hub design.
The app will include “Find a Parish” and “Find a School” information that will quickly link visitors to online application forms, event registrations, directions and other information. Users can also find daily prayers and reflections, spiritual videos and links to other Church resources.
Bishop Caggiano had first announced the development of the diocesan App last Fall during his “State of the Diocese” address and mentioned that it had been developed in response to requests by people who attended the synod listening sessions.
During the synod listening sessions, people throughout the diocese said they would like to see more sharing between parishes and more timely information. The app directly addresses these concerns through social media, where people are most likely to search.
“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,” said the bishop.
The App was pre-released to synod delegates and parish representatives on January 15, 2015. Diocesan employees and youth members of the synod have also field-testing the App. Parish representatives and diocesan employees have also participated in training sessions to learn how to upload the material to the new hub.
“It’s not easy to capture the breadth of the diocese on a small mobile phone,” Deacon Toole said, “but the use of social media has enormous possibilities to invite people into the sacramental life of the Church.”