Tuesday, July 31, 2012



Ten years ago, in January 2001, an Archdiocesan Synod was held in Mumbai at which a blueprint for a ‘Participatory-Servant Church’ was developed. The Mid-Term Assembly convened in 2006 established specific goals and developed strategies to achieve these objectives. Today, together with the systems and structures in the Church, it is time for us to take stock of ourselves as Church- the progress we have made, the changes in our world that are affecting us and how we can even more effectively respond to the ‘signs of the times’. This strategy paper on: ‘Relationship with other Laity’ attempts to briefly chart out this course.  

An Emerging Church

In its earliest days, the Church was simply a community of believers. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching
and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the
prayers. … All who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2: 42, 44).

Very soon during that first century, however, it became necessary for the people to elect representatives to distribute food, keep accounts, and perform administrative functions that would leave the missioners (apostles) free to spread the word of God. From such modest beginnings, we read further in the Acts of the Apostles, arose needs to affirm the true leaders within a community, to settle disputes among members and between cities, and to counteract false teachings.

Century after century, as the Church grew in size and breadth, this need to establish structures increased. Gradually, the laity were described as recipients of whatever actions their pastors and bishops took. However, the Second Vatican Council renewed the focus on the entire People of God.

The People of God

The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders.  These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part, the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World. (LG, 31).  

The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity repeats this call for the laity to use their special gifts within the apostolate of the Church—because “without it the apostolate of the pastors is often unable to achieve its full effectiveness”—and declares specifically the rights of the laity to form associations for such purposes.

The Present Reality

In the Archdiocese of Bombay, several lay faithful are utilizing their charisms in the service of the community through various associations.

The ordained minister while being the animator of the community has the responsibility of discovering, discerning and developing the charisms of the laity. 

Besides the ministries already existing in the Archdiocese, like the Extraordinary Ministry of the Eucharist and the Ministry of the Word, some new key ministries like, just to name a few: Ministry of Faith Formation, Ministry to the Family and Ministry of Liturgical Animation, have been established and with much

As we reflect on the past we are thankful to God for the active involvement of the laity, but while we stand on the threshold of this Consultation in our Archdiocese, we see that much still needs to be done as the Church in Mumbai faces new challenges, encounters new experiences and witnesses to Christ before we can say like St Paul, “I have run the race, I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).

A time has come and now is the moment for the Church of Mumbai to make that Paradigm Shift in our thinking, working out and living with the laity.

1.    A Time to develop Mature Relationships with the Laity.

        The recent Archdiocesan Survey shows that 40.6% of the laity were comfortable in accepting the leadership of a layperson in Parish activities. While 23.4% accepted lay leadership only in the shortage of priests in the Parish, 20.6% accepted lay leadership for non- spiritual activities.   The Holy Spirit in His own way calls forth lay leaders to be of service in the Church. This can be seen in the history of the Church when persons, associations and new communities were launched as indispensable co-workers of the Bishop and Priests.

        One view expressed in the Archdiocesan Survey, was that the laity were prepared to accept lay leadership in the Church if the person was trained or was an expert in his/her field.

        At this moment in time, the Holy Spirit inspires us to grow to be mature and open to accept trained lay leadership in the Church for the present and the future.

        It would be good to reflect on my attitude towards the trained lay faithful in my parish setting. 
        If in my parish there’s a permanent deacon and he has been appointed to do the baptism of my child, would I be prepared to accept him or would I try to wriggle out and try to get a priest to do it? 
        Am I accepting and open to receiving Holy Communion from a lay Eucharistic Minister or do I cross over to a line where a priest is distributing Holy Communion? 
        Would I receive faith formation with the same understanding and acceptance from a trained lay leader as from a priest?  
        For the success of this new arrangement it needs the understanding, openness, acceptance and preparation from the part of the community. The Code of Canon Law defines a parish as a ‘certain community of Christ’s faithful stably established’, i.e., a family united in faith in the Lord which is lived out in understanding, mutual acceptance and caring. 

2.    A Time for the Laity To Participate in the World
      One level of the ministerial life could be called common ministry, the role of laity in the secular field, which is to be exercised “in conformity to the specific lay vocation”. (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, n. 23).

        The Second Vatican Council specifies secularity as the characteristic “propria et peculiaris” of the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world. (LG, nos. 31, 33 & 36). Therefore, the primary ministry of the lay person is “to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel” and thus “to give witness to Christ”. (Can. 225, § 2).  

        What one would look for in the months after the Consultation is to have a greater emphasis of professionals/ experts/ specialists to serve on Church groups, to offer their expertise thereby enriching the very fabric of parish life. 

        A better understanding of the various Church documents and understanding of the ‘signs of the times’ will certainly help to bring about this paradigm shift, not just in our mere lip service, but this must reflected in our thinking, drawing up of plans and implementation of programmes for the Parish and Archdiocese at large.
A proposal to have Collaborative Governance on a few issues
      Once enlightened to see the need for a paradigm shift, this paper proposes a collaboration of the laity first among themselves and then to have collaboration with the clergy and the religious on a few issues:

1.    A Collaboration of Caring and Sharing
      Over the years since the Synod 2001 there has been a higher level of consciousness of care and concern for my neighbour. However much needs to be done. In a parish set up, one observes and this has been the findings of the survey too that few are involved in many activities, cells and associations. Every parish has a mine of talents; every parish is truly self sufficient to take care of all its needs.   A fostering and a better understanding of the role of the laity will help to achieve this.  Thereby building and making every Small Christian Community, Parish and the Archdiocese a truly participatory-servant Church. 

2.    A Collaboration for the Development of Responsible Youth
      “It is in the name of God and of his son Jesus, that we exhort you to heed the appeal of your brothers, to place your youthful energies at their service. The Church is anxious that this society that you (Youth) are going to build up should respect the dignity, the liberty and the rights of individuals. These individuals are you (Youth). The church is particular anxious that the society should allow free expansion to her treasure ever ancient and ever new, namely, faith, and that your souls may be able to bask freely in its helpful light. The Church looks to you (Youth) with confidence and with love. Rich with a long past ever living in her, and marching on toward human perfection in time and the ultimate destinies of history and of life, the church is the real youth of the world.” (Message of the II Vatican Council to the Youth).

        Our Archdiocese has a rich abundance of youth associations with particular charisms, aims and programmes. On a regular basis the Archdiocesan Youth Centre has joint meetings and programmes to creatively foster and to better understand our youth. Could such gatherings help the youth to   have a broader outlook to life, to develop themselves to their mission in the broader context of the community, city, nation and the world at large? Can responsible youth be developed who automatically are absorbed not merely as Church leaders, but as leaders in Civic and Political groups and in Citizen Awareness groups?

3.    A Collaboration in the field of Education
      Education is basic to the development of every human being and begins right from the birth of a child. Education develops and enhances the social status of a person and enables a person grow to maturity.

        A common and a well known problem faced by the Bishops and those in charge of education in our Archdiocese is who should be appointed as a new school/ college principal once the former principal retires. How open and accepting would the lay teachers be in accepting a lay principal? Lest we continue to escape under the most often heard excuse, “A priest is better, for we know he will be transferred after 6 years. Who wants that headache till she retires?”. Now is the crucial time as we reflect on our relationships with the other laity. Are we willing to put into practice what we know? We know for sure we need to accept, understand and be open to lay leadership in the field of education. 

4.    A Collaboration and Involvement of the Laity in Temporal Affairs
      The Church has grown hoarse telling the lay faithful that they are the ‘salt of the earth and the light of the world’. While acknowledging their expertise, and permitting the experts to help/ serve on various Church bodies, the Church also invites the lay faithful to be engaged in Civil Services, IFS, IPS, etc. There is a very minuscule group of our catholic lay faithful serving and working in the government, civic and public sectors. 

        If we knew what politics really means, we cannot but be challenged to participate in politics.  Politics in its real sense is a larger process by which decisions are made about our life, needs and aspirations and the ways and means of realizing those needs and aspirations.

        The time is ripe for us to permeate the mainstream of life, to live out our Christian calling in a challenging milieu, one that propagates values contrary to the Gospel and in a milieu that subjectively rationalizes the world around. The hierarchy too would do well if such initiatives were supported by them.


The world is a vast vineyard. The owner of the vineyard is the Lord and He invites every man, woman, and child to come into the vineyard and work it so as to make it produce the fruits of many good works. The special role of the laity, stemming from the special lay character that is theirs, and nourished by their own sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage) is to make this world all that God meant it to be. The Kingdom of God begins here, but only if we all want it, choose in behalf of it, work towards it, promote what advances it, and resist whatever destroys injures or limits it. The Catholic laity has been referred to as a “sleeping giant waiting to be awakened.” Will they measure up to the needs of the age by drawing upon the special strengths of the Church, in what has been called “the age of the laity”? The choice is yours, and mine.

Questions for Discussion:

1.   Mention at least 3 most important ideas in the paper you agree with, giving reasons for the same

2.   Any suggestions relating to the implementation and the way forward regarding the above?

3.   Please mention any ideas in the paper you disagree with, giving reasons for the same

4.              Please mention any important aspects that you think have not been covered in the paper.


In the history of the Church there have been several changes in the relationship between the hierarchy, the religious and the lay faithful.  The Christian ideal has been described in Acts 4: 32  “The group of believers was one in mind and heart. None of them said that any of their belongings were their own, but they all shared with one another everything they had.”  Soon various roles began to be assigned to lectors, acolytes, cantors, deacons, etc.   Gradually especially after Emperor Constantine, Latin became the official language of the Church and there developed a “clericalization of the Church” in which the clergy began to take on the roles that had formerly been given to the lay faithful.  The Second Vatican Council was a turning point.  It emphasized the Church as the People of God and many of the roles were re-assigned to the members of Christ’s faithful.  In the Archdiocese of Bombay, a Synod was held in 2001 to take a fresh look at our vision and mission the light of the  Council.  Eleven years later, we take a fresh look at the relationship between hierarchy, priests, religious and Laity in the light of modern developments and the needs of the Archdiocese.
Survey highlights :
1.     Approachability and availability of priests: 88 % of respondents agreed that priests were approachable and available. Collaboration in parish ministry: 80% of respondents agreed that  priests and the lay faithful collaborate in parish ministry.  Close to 60-65% of respondents saying that this collaboration is useful and helpful with the priest encouraging the lay faithful to undertake training programs.
2.     42% respondents from the Commissions said the role of the priest in priest –laity collaboration was of supervising the laity. However 72% of PPC members said the primary role of the priest is to provide suitable guidance. Close to 75% agreed that there was accountability in the financial management of the parish with only a minority of 9% saying there was no accountability in the financial systems operating in the parishes.
3.     Priest and PPC:  60% of PPC members felt there was a spirit of openness in PPC meetings with 66% saying that representatives of SCCs and parish associations were given enough opportunity to express their views and group concerns in the PPC meetings. 90% found the representation of women in the PPC to be adequate.
Overall several key strengths emerge: Our priests are approachable and available with a positive orientation towards collaboration. There is inclusiveness in the PPC composition and openness of expression in the PPC interactions, as also a voice of representation to the various parish associations. One also notes that there generally exists recognition of a strong accountability in financial matters of the parish.
The above positives are a strong validation of our historical and on-going institutional and communitarian efforts to build a strong and vibrant Archdiocese. The basic challenge is how to consolidate our strengths and take them to the next level to promote and achieve the vision and mission of our archdiocese and respective parishes in response to the ‘signs of the times’.
Healthy and wholesome relationships can only develop where  the following key elements are given prominence :  Communication, conflict resolution, collaboration and co-responsibility and the willingness to change. 
Communication is not a language, it is relationship. Effective communication between the clergy and the lay faithful and among priests themselves must first convey, “You are important to me and I want to take this communication forward.”  The skills involved would be empathetic listening and responding and giving and receiving feedback. Barriers to effective communication would be prejudice, superiority or inferiority complexes and fear of self-disclosure.  There is an almost adequate top-down communication structure which is successfully used but there is a need to explore and strengthen the bottom-up communication model.  Dialogue between seminarians and their professors/mentors can be a rich and fulfilling experience when there is an openness to discuss sensitive issues  that enable these seminarians to become good priests themselves.

In keeping with the technological age we live in, the clergy are encouraged to use software for processing data and information both, at the personal and professional level.  They must also not shy away from social networking among themselves especially when friends and batch mates are in far off parishes.  With the aid of privacy setting, their interactions with one another would be pretty secure.

Conflict and conflict resolution
Interdependence among clergy may foster conflict. Cause for conflict could be due to bearing grudges or keeping score, put downs and criticism in public at the seminary, clergy meetings or priests’ council. These must be addressed and sorted out.  Other factors that contribute to conflict could be groups, language, cultural and regional differences.  Conflict is healthy when it enables one to explore new ideas.  It stimulates greater creativity and the outcome would be far better.

When new ideas are shot down or scorned at by senior and experienced priests, other priests with creative ideas feel discouraged and fear sharing their views.  This is detrimental for making progress.  Therefore efforts must be made to create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.  Bishops must be able to draw out quiet priests to speak up and listen with patience and respect.

Collaboration and co-responsibility
This is possible when key positions exercising power and authority are rotated regularly. Priests holding on to pet projects for several years not only block out innovation and creativity but also create a sense of domination and a feeling of indispensability.  Collaboration is possible when the priest in charge delegates and considers himself one among equals.  Accepting feedback without being defensive will ensure better cooperation and increase the level of trust.   Taking ownership when projects fall short of the expected results will make it easy for a priest to seek help from his peers or higher-ups.
We live in times of profound and rapid change.  To live is to change and to live long is to have changed often.  The Church as a whole is challenged to make an impact on the changing social order.  Some areas for consideration would be:

1.     Training – Formation of seminarians and religious needs to be interdisciplinary.  Courses in Theology and Philosophy must be complemented by courses in the behavioural sciences and human resources management.  Growth as a person, in different relationships must be seen as an integral part of spiritual formation.  Wholeness is holiness. 
2.     Senior priests must be mentors to young priests and seminarians. The formation of seminarians in our Archdiocese of Mumbai has a well thought out plan and is effectively executed to prepare them for their ministry in the church. 93% of the lay faithful agreed that priests are well trained for the ministry. However, we live in a dynamic and evolving society where the key to survival is continuous learning and growth be it spiritual or emotional. We must learn from the failures and crises of the church in the west and Europe.

Can we develop a Pastoral Development Program that could be designed in three tiers that covers the span of priestly ministry over a period of fifteen years?  What is envisaged is a process where senior priests and religious take on the role of a ‘role model’ and engage in pastoral mentoring for a period of at least a couple of years after ordination?  “When we see that to learn, we must be willing to look foolish, to let another teach us, learning doesn’t always look so good anymore...only with the support of fellowship of another can we face the dangers of learning meaningful things.” (Peter Senge) The key word is ‘fellowship’, a word that combines partnership, warmth and camaraderie.

At the core of the essence of pastoral ministry is the need to provide ancient wisdom (2000 years of catholic wisdom) to contemporary problems. In order to fulfill this mission, the clergy need to adapt to  modern times, constantly discovering what is not known. Regular skill up gradation especially in a new digital divide world is all the more relevant than before. The eternal flame of psycho-spiritual growth will have to be constantly enkindled with latest research and sharing.

3.     The creation of the Bombay Archdiocese Asset Management Authority  (BAAMA)  comprising the Archdiocesan hierarchy in the Board with the responsibility of managing church estate and assets for the long term benefit of the Archdiocese so as to optimally and professionally address future challenges in an increasingly complex and combative  environment.  This Company would be a professionally  run company with competent technical and functional resources drawn from the hierarchy and the  appropriate placement network. The proposed Asset management Company would incorporate and include all existing resources such as legal,  tax and financial advisers currently engaged with the archdiocese.
What  are the reasons for such a body ?
A.    The body could plan a long term , comprehensive perspective and continuity in management of church properties across the archdiocese. Decisions would be optimized so as to take care of ongoing and long terms needs of the respective parish and the Church. Properties under a centrally controlled body would be better managed as a portfolio taking into account a whole of issues including financial returns, future needs and gainful use of assets.

B.     Parish Priests are appointed for tenures of around 6 years. The succession of incumbents to the posts of parish priests creates a discontinuity in management. Quite often problems related to these properties take a lot of time and attention of an already over burdened parish priest.  Sometimes he is the target of local and parish pressure groups as well under threat from the builder/politician/gangster lobby.   The individual parish priest is at times quite powerless against such powerful vested interests. Within delegated scope of authority the parish priest would have full autonomy to perform his duties with respect estate and assets.   Each parish would out of necessity manage its own finances and resources within the established parameters.
Formation of Seminarians and Women Religious

The results of the survey on people’s perception of women religious show widely differing responses.  A majority see their role as being confined to the sacristy and flower arrangements at the altar.  Others see women religious playing a key role in SCCs and CCOs.  Many are also aware of their important role in the field of education and caring for orphans.  Many feel that they are well trained pastorally while the on-line respondents feel that their training is poor.  
Here are some suggestions that are important :
a.     Include Gender sensitivity courses as one of the subjects in Seminaries and houses of formation.
b.    Reorient the formation of women religious towards pastoral possibilities in the Church.
c.  Provide opportunities for theologically-trained women to contribute as pastoral workers,      researchers, faith formators, professors in theology and spiritual counsellors. (Pastores dabo vobis, 207)
d.     Affirm the pastoral work of women  religious- as catechists, lectors, and animators of Basic/Small      Christian Communities, counsellors, liturgists and Community workers through the recognition of these as Ministries.

A cell for Human Resources and Organizational Behavior   must be formed that undertakes some of the changes suggested above. This would also help when priests have to be transferred, sent abroad for further studies or put in charge of various Commissions.  This would also ensure transparency at all levels of the clergy.  The cell would have to function both at the archdiocesan level as well as the parish level so that the best resources in the community can be harnessed for the good of all. 

Questions for Discussion:
1.   Mention at least 3 most important ideas in the paper you agree with, giving reasons for the same
2.   Any suggestions relating to the implementation and the way forward regarding the above?
3.   Please mention any ideas in the paper you disagree with, giving reasons for the same
4.         Please mention any important aspects that you think have not been covered in the paper.


Technology today has transformed the world into a global village where everyone is potentially empowered to reach out, succour and even change many lives in a matter of seconds. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
As technology constantly evolves and progresses, dominating the world-scape; we need to be updated and knowledgeable about ways that allow us to wield this powerful tool to widen the reach of ‘the message of true freedom and new life in Jesus Christ – and the call to live that new life within the Church’. As Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 43rd World Communication Day titled “New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship” stated: ‘The new digital technologies are, indeed, bringing about fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships.’ (Sunday, 24 May 2009.)
In the Pontifical Council document, ‘The Church and Internet’
( Feb, 2002) it is stated that the Church regards the internet as a positive means to help human development, justice, peace and solidarity and recognizes the internet as a gift of God. The new technologies offer opportunities for evangelization, catechesis, administration and sharing of information and news. Thus they provide an effective means for dialogue and expression. However, even as we accept that technology can bring forth such good fruit, we also need to be aware of the challenges it poses.
The following paper is based upon discussions and the findings of the Archdiocesan Survey 2012, covering 5082 respondents in ten categories, between the ages of 18 to 92 years, the median age being 45.91 years.
This particular segment of the survey (that considers the Relationship of the Church with Technology), broadly underlines the usefulness of technology as a means of communication, emphasizes through statistics the need for more training, and outlines the challenges posed by a media perceived by those who participated in the Survey as a temptation to addiction and a disseminator of information that is often unreliable.
Against this background, where does the Church stand vis-a-vis communication technology today?
Main Discussion
“The Catholic Church should embrace social media – or at the very least accept it – not as the solution to outreach difficulties but as a means to starting a conversation, resourcing and reaching people where they are. The message of true freedom and new life in Jesus Christ – and the call to live that new life within the Church – is too valuable to not use every available means to communicate it to a world hungering for its liberating invitation.”
-       (Billy Atwell, Social Media and the Catholic Church,

1.     The group unanimously felt the Consultation Sample Survey was very internet centric and left out the age group of 12 to 18, which could be regarded as an entire generation in terms of technological development and obsolescence. Thus in the very first question, on internet activities from email through social networking, the use of Skype, downloading music, doing internet banking, shopping or making reservations online, action was heaviest between the ages of 26 to 45. Most of the activity centered around email (78%), but the group between 18 to 25 years represented just 11.3%, making it pretty clear that for this segment, the gadget of choice for the platform of choice will not be computers (whether desktop or laptop). What will the communication platform be? Very likely mobile phones. At the end of 2011, there were 6 billion phones worldwide, driven largely by India and China. International Telecom Union) This makes up 87% of the world’s population. Together they sent out 8 trillion SMSs, indicating this is the favoured mode of communication.
2.     The discussions found the need to distinguish between sophisticated gadgetry and the smart use of technology. Even sophisticated gadgetry does not guarantee efficient delivery of information, with most people using barely 10% of the features available. Yet, if mobile device sales actually grew, Smartphones grew the fastest. At the end of 2011, significantly, use of the mobile web is set to overtake fixed-line internet in India. (Statcounter, via It can thus be deduced that mobile phones are going to lead to a surge in the use of internet as well in this country.

3.     There is no debate about the Church’s need to use Information Technology. However, the Church needs to move beyond simply disseminating information (Masses, meetings, activities) to evangelization in its broadest sense, that of living one’s faith in thought, word and deed in the everyday lives of the laity, thus empowering them with the information they need to know in order to grow. Networking is the need of the hour, technology provides the platforms. Nevertheless, the Church must adopt a strategic policy keeping in mind that technology is no substitute for the personal, the human touch. At best, it can be used as a powerful tool to reach the largest numbers as quickly as possible, while underlining the quality of its teachings and messages.

4.     The following are applicable technologies which are being and can be used by the Archdiocese.

Strongly used:
l      Print Media
l      Email and SMS
l      Mobiles and telephones
l      Audio visual aids

Limited use:
l      Websites
l      Blogs
l      Social Networking Sites (You Tube, FaceBook, Twitter)

What’s left?
l      Mass media technologies (Television, Radio)
l      Information technology
l      Cloud Computing (See Para 8)
l      Games

5.     Most Parishes use Print Media as a primary means to communicate with their parishioners mainly because this is relatively inexpensive and reaches across all generations, old and young. The shelf life of this medium is much higher. Since these parish bulletins contain a lot of information about the parish and its activities, it should make use of the latest Desktop Publishing (DTP) Technologies to make the content attractive and vibrant. Nor should it stop here but ensure that these print bulletins are uploaded on to parish websites, or placed on the Archdiocesan website to be accessed by all who visit.

6.     Effective use of today’s mass media technologies should be used to connect with the youth and other generations. The Internet, Mobile, Mobile Computing, Radio, DTH Satellite & Cable TV, and print play a vital role in Mass Media. The new technologies have also opened the way for dialogue between people from different countries, cultures and religions. Cyberspace has encouraged virtual exchanges of information about culture, values and traditions. Yet more than half the priests (55%), asked to respond to questions on the use of communications technology in specified areas, did not do so. Less than half (45%) responded to questions on the manner of dissemination of information in the parish. Why?

7.     It is important to underline a growing factor which has emerged from the internet and that is the use of Smartphones. The youth have been hooked on to this form of communication i.e. through mobile and text messaging. The Smartphone world has enabled youngsters to communicate with each other instantly and also enabled them to share their thoughts and opinions. Many people cannot afford a computer but find that they can communicate and socialize through their phones, which are a cheaper device. However, friendship, while being a great human good, would be emptied of its ultimate value if it were to be understood as an end in itself. In this context, it is gratifying to note the emergence of new digital networks that seek to promote human solidarity, peace and justice, human rights and respect for human life and the good of creation.

8.     Smartphones inevitably lead to another growing trend - the use of the mobile internet and their ability to connect to Social Networking Sites (SNS). With the overwhelming popularity of short messaging and one-liners , the format of social networking sites are an ideal way to keep in touch with the youth and engage them in conversation.

9.     Archdiocesan seminarians, lay and religious leaders have swiftly taken advantage of these trends and used them to network both with the youth and with the general laity in a parish. In their use of communications technology, 80.6% of seminarians surveyed said they used it for confirmation classes, 69.4% for catechesis and youth groups.  This particular network, between seminarians and the youth, needs to be developed along the lines of like calling to like, youth responding to youthful clergymen in their quest of spiritual guidance and pastoral counsel, being a fact of life.

10.   Cloud computing today is gaining momentum. This refers to applications and services offered over the Internet data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the “cloud.” This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet. Most documents, presentations etc. can be stored online in the cloud and it would be wise to use this virtual technology to bring together a multimedia resource base explicitly for the purpose of educating parishioners about current church affairs etc.
11.   Most parishes in the Archdiocese do have a website, but many find themselves either unable to maintain it or keep it running. An indispensable part of Information technology is to keep people updated and abreast with all the latest news and information, such as Mass timings, deaths, births, parish activities etc. A clear-cut understanding of what a parish website should look like and the basic content it should display will attract the returning visitor.  For this purpose the diocese needs to establish some form of a template. The use of blogs as parish websites should also be encouraged since this is a free service on the Internet.

12.   Multimedia tools are being used all over the world to enrich one’s experience of the Eucharist and for Catechesis with the aim of deepening one’s faith. The same enrichment can flow into other areas of the pastoral ministry, such as meetings, social outreach, inter-religious dialogue and various other forums.

13.   The Church, since she teaches the doctrine of salvation and has all that is needed for the attainment of holiness, has an inviolable right to communicate that which has been entrusted to her by divine command. This sacred right should be acknowledged by public authorities, so that the Church might have access to those means by which she can spread truth and virtue. Sincere and zealous sons of the Church, who recognize the inestimable gift of the Redemption, must exert every effort in seeing that she has the use of these technical advances to the extent that they can contribute to the sanctification of souls. Encyclical Miranda Prorsus, on Mass Communications, September, 8, 1957, [28]) 


“I would like to conclude this message by addressing myself, in particular, to young Catholic believers: to encourage them to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world.  I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives”.
-       (Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 43rd World Communication Day titled ‘New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship, Sunday, 24 May 2009)
1.     Most parishes are doing quite well with printed bulletins. They must now look at publishing online versions and helping to creating an archive of all bulletins that can be maintained digitally. This can be done at the diocesan level or by the parish itself.
2.     Social Networking Sites like FaceBook, Twitter etc. need to be looked at in greater detail. Not only are they a cost effective method in using technology to communicate but practically every gadget or phone purchased these days can support them.
3.     An SNS site would also be effective in communicating with people. A typical parish could use the SNS to inform people about its programs and possibly provide online resources through multimedia for some of its services etc. However, care must be taken to make sure that these SNSs are constantly updated and are a two-way street. A parish could also opt for having an SNS page (like FaceBook) over a website.

4.     The use of platforms like YouTube by parishes and other Church organizations and bodies should also be encouraged by the Archdiocese. The phenomenon of You Tube and its ability to go viral in a short time is an argument in favour of developing its use within the Archdiocese to heighten the effect of the personal touch or message in an increasingly virtual world.

5.     Since most of the Archdiocese of Bombay is in Greater Mumbai, the greater part has access to a Broadband Internet Connection. The parishes and bodies of the Church must make sure that all activities are covered by at least photographs or video clips which can be uploaded to be uploaded to YouTube or other media forums. This means of broadcasting oneself will benefit not only those who attend parish activities but also serve as a motivator for others to join in as well.

6.     Parish Media and Technology Cells can be established to cater to the communication and technological needs of the parish. The cell would have a dedicated computer system to look into its SNS / Website. The parish technology cell can also look into providing other multimedia systems and projectors / panel displays, audio systems etc. both for the purpose of catechism and other parish activities.

7.     A special correspondent should be appointed to disseminate information to the print media (The Examiner), diocesan bodies and the secular press.

8.     An inter-parish network can also be set up for the purpose of connecting across the Archdiocese. This network can form a database of all useful information that can be shared across parishes. The database could include anything from Catholic Businesses to Catholic Resources, Birth and Death Columns, Obituaries and other info regarding diocesan inter parish activities.

9.     The importance of guidelines for use of information technology with regard to legal parameters, privacy, intellectual property rights etc. cannot be over emphasized and accordingly the Archdiocese needs to draft necessary guidelines. Training needs to be imparted to the laity to assist the parishes in the usage of this powerful medium. Perhaps training in the use of technology could also be included in regular training programs such as CTC, PYAS, SCC etc. Certainly it would encourage more potential users to come forward.

10.   The use of multimedia tools to enrich one’s experience of the Eucharist and Catechesis. Consistent exposure to questions of faith and doctrine will hone our own understanding of our faith, thus strengthening it. YouTube clips, PowerPoint presentations and other forms of multimedia clips need to be projected as often as possible to establish the fact that our Church is a modern church, that it is willing to live the Alphabetical Age behind for the Digital Age. Quality tools (projectors, laptops, sound systems) are a given. The investment must be made.

11.   Priests are challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites etc.) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.


1.    The Immensity Of The Task Ahead.
        The Church needs to harmonize the alphabetical world with the digital world as the youth today are in the vanguard of technological progress. The Church needs to reaffirm its commitment to address the problems of the youth through an immersion in their world.
2.    Overcoming Reluctance To Engage On The Path Of Church And  Hierarchy.
        The Church finds it difficult to respond to the problems of the laity because the hierarchical structure often impedes the work of individuals and groups due to the reluctance to change.
3.    Commitments To The Long Haul.
      Professionalism calls for an adequate and just remuneration on the part of the recipient. The Church for long has followed the model of co-responsibility and hence finds it difficult to garner funds to project a more professional pproach to constructing models for the use of the laity.
4.    The Inculcation Of A Culture Of Responsibility.
        We need to be responsible citizens of the world and be sensitive to the various cultures when placing materials on the World Wide Web.

5.    Understanding Security Risk.
        The Church needs to be aware of the abuses and the dangers that affect the digital world, like hacking, virus injunctions etc. Modern technological developments are good but are always in flux, as they keep on changing.
is important that people at all levels of the Church use technology creatively meet their responsibilities and help fulfill the Church’s mission of evangelization, catechesis, social justice and human rights. The Church also needs to understand and use technology, not as a replacement of the human dimension of service but as a facilitator of the same. This requires keeping clearly in view its special character as a direct, immediate, interactive and participatory medium.
Questions for Discussion:
1.   Mention at least 3 most important ideas in the paper you agree with, giving reasons for the same
2.   Any suggestions relating to the implementation and the way forward regarding the above?
3.   Please mention any ideas in the paper you disagree with, giving reasons for the same
4.         Please mention any important aspects that you think have not been covered in the paper.