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Philippine bishops promote online Masses with mobile app

Application is designed to give pandemic-hit Catholics easier access to online Masses and other services

Philippine bishops promote online Masses with mobile app

The Philippine Catholic Church's new Faith Watch application. (Photo: Joseph Peter Calleja/UCA News)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has launched a mobile app to help people living under pandemic social restrictions to access livestreamed Masses, gospel reflections and church news.

“The Faith Watch app is an integrated platform designed to help users find the schedule of Masses and other sacraments while featuring biblical reflections and catechetical material in video and digital formats,” CBCP media director Monsignor Pedro Quitorio told Catholic-run Radio Veritas.

Msgr. Quitorio said the app’s target was not only those who yearn for the sacraments but also the “unchurched” who are “curious” about the Word of God.

“It wishes to reach out to the unchurched populating social media through logs and other content produced and formatted with missio ad gentes [mission to all peoples] in mind,” he added.

The apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown, who attended the Sept. 8 launch, praised the app’s makers for developing modern tools for evangelization.

“I think the app is really useful during this pandemic, especially since we still do not have face-to-face Masses. It’s really useful during this time and a very valuable tool for Catholics,” he said.

Since last year, the pandemic has hampered our regular ways and channels of catechesis and evangelization. This app somehow cushions that

“I am certain, as the representative of Pope Francis, that this new Faith Watch App will help all of us live the gift of our faith and help us transmit it to others.”

CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao said the app was a gift to all Filipino Catholics confined to their homes due the surge in cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant.

“Many fellow Filipinos are inside their homes because of the new variant surge. Since last year, the pandemic has hampered our regular ways and channels of catechesis and evangelization. This app somehow cushions that,” Archbishop Valles told reporters.

Catholic churches in the Philippines suspended religious gatherings including Masses in March 2020 to avoid spreading Covid-19.

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Parishes have been forced to livestream Masses and other religious activities while churchgoers attend them online.

“This faith app is a response to the call of the times.  I am quite sure that we all consider it as another big help, as another gift as it were for our use as we continue to meet the many challenges of the task of the new evangelization,” Archbishop Valles added.

Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit of Boac in Marinduque province, southwest of Manila, called the app “useful, practical, convenient and timely.”

“Life goes on for all of us in spite of this pandemic. We are just living in this world of changes, and with these changes are the opportunities to be blessed and become ourselves a blessing,” he told attendees of the launch.

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