Every time there is an event at St Anthony’s Church in Vakola, Zenia D’cunha, 21, a member of the church’s youth wing, simply creates an ‘event page’ on Facebook and makes arrangements based on the number of people, who virtually give their consent to attend.
“We upload photos and videos even after the event, helping parishioners keep in touch and develop an informal bond outside the parish. Social networking, websites and online forums have changed the way the church communicates,” said D’cunha.
In an attempt to gauge the impact of technological and social changes on the lives of the Catholic community members over the past decade, the Archdiocese of Bombay, which is the umbrella body of the 122 city parishes, is undertaking a survey to put forth a tentative plan for its future functioning.
“Over the past ten years, the mode of communication adopted by the church has changed tremendously. In keeping pace with modern technology, information that was formerly exchanged by word-of-mouth has now moved on to the online web,” said Father Gilbert de Lima, coordinator, Archdiocesan Consultation.
The survey results will be discussed and analysed at the Archdiocesan Consultation, which will be held from November 12 to 14.
As part of the consultation, which is being organised to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Bombay, the working committee surveyed 5,516 parishioners, diocesan priests, committee heads, deacons and seminarians, religious priests and community members involved in the fields of health and education over the past three months.
“Based on the results, we will prepare a discussion paper and send it back to the parishioners for a review,” said Father Nigel Barrett, a working committee member. “The final consultation will consider these views and come up with a suitable plan for the future,” he added.