World’s first online parish launched

Brisbane archdiocese online parish

The Archdiocese of Brisbane has launched what may be the world’s first online parish enabling thousands of Catholics to practise their faith in the digital world.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the innovation was sparked by the continued interest in online Masses. This is despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions allowing parishioners to attend churches in person.

“We’ve always thought of a Catholic parish as something that has a geographic base around a church and perhaps a school, but the past two years have made us think about life differently,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“We know that some of our parishioners who began to watch Masses by livestream early last year are still watching and may not be able to make it to a physical parish. So, we decided that we would come to them by forming a dedicated online parish community with a priest who will engage with them regularly.”

Brisbane’s first online parish priest is Fr Peter Brannelly. He will be a regular face on the archdiocese’s social media platforms engaging viewers across southeast Queensland and beyond.

Fr Brannelly added the online ministry to his role as parish priest of Caloundra.

“I was delighted to assist in this role because we know how online interaction has grown during the pandemic,” Fr Brannelly said.

“We have been able to connect with Catholics in ways that we hadn’t thought of before Covid came into our lives.

While many Catholic dioceses and parishes provided a livestream of Masses, the Brisbane archdiocese wanted to go a step further and created an online parish that could be a central meeting point in the same way a physical parish brings together its community.

Archbishop Coleridge said it was important for online parishioners to see a regular face and engage with a priest in something like the way they would if they were attending a physical parish.

Each week, Fr Brannelly will introduce the livestream of a Sunday Mass for parishioners, invite prayer intentions, delve into the lives of saints on their feast days and feature in other engagement opportunities with parishioners.

The online parish began in line with the new liturgical year, with the Advent season leading into Christmas celebrations.

Fr Brannelly said the online parish community enabled people to feel as though they had a regular connection in their faith, just as they would if they were coming to a parish.

“We expect we will engage with people who are still going to their physical parish but who may not be able to make it every weekend.”


The Catholic Leader


Australian Catholics

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