Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Catholic? Understand Technology? Want to Make a Lot of Money?

Here is something I've been kicking around for a few months, and an email today from a St. Malachy parishioner inspired me to throw this idea out there.

With the new translation, song books, inserts, etc. now more than ever Catholics are juggling worship aids.

I've also realized, as a baby priest, how much conversion could take place if people could more easily follow the words being said at Mass. As a priest, especially during the Eucharistic prayer, I try to go slow (but not monotonously slow) in order for people to process the words, but I know from my own experience as a seminarian that the ability to follow along greatly increases the internalization of the prayers being lifted up at Mass.

The "daily Missal" is nice if yo can afford the 55 dollar cost. I had one in the seminary, and it was a big step forward for me with regards to my "praying the Mass" as opposed to "going to Mass." The downside of the "daily Missal" is that you have to know how to navigate it. The typical daily Missal is about 2,000 pages, and so you have to know how to find the prayers for the day on your own. Often times which Eucharistic Prayer will be used isn't known until the priest starts.

The other problem with a daily Missal is that you still need a separate book for songs.

Here's how someone could make a lot of money.

Make a website where a priest can click on a couple of options for the weekend (which preface, which Eucharistic Prayer, which hymns) and then, based on those, Every single word and song could be emailed as a pdf to the entire parish. The parishioners could then put them on their cell phones/Kindles/Ipads or print them off and bring the document in.

I know the "hymn" part might be an issue, and I'm no guru of copyright laws, but 99% of the parishioners don't need the actual hymn sheets with notes - at Ritter we just put the words to the hymns in our programs, and because so many people can't read music anyway, it works.

We've also learned at Ritter that it is HIGHLY more likely that people will follow along if everything is in one place. For our first Mass with the new translation, we put every word in our program and paid a little extra for the printing, but it was TOTALLY worth it. You could FEEL the interior participation of the kids and you could look out and see them following along throughout the entire Mass. People are curious and want to follow, but our Catholic parishes often make it very hard to follow along. Imagine being a guest for a weekend as well. Would you have any idea where to go to in order to follow along?

If you know of someone with some business/technology savvy who would be interested, pass this proposal on to them. I'd be happy to connect with the person and share more ideas.

I would love it if parishioners could have an easy way to follow along with the words of the Mass; what a way to encourage interior active participation!!!!