Caring for the gathered and reaching the scattered.
That wasn't just a vision statement for the Archdiocese of Toronto's Family of Faith Campaign, but an actual reality and objective.
Following a nearly month long installation at St. Mary's Parish in Brampton, Ontario and nearly three years after the Archdiocesan Video Conferencing Network was first initiated, the installation phase of the project has now come to an end.
All in all, there are 10 sites across the Archdiocese that are host to the Archdiocesan Video Conferencing Network. Locations span from Barrie in the north to Oshawa in the east, Etobicoke, Woodbridge and Scarborough. Of the ten sites that were identified for use in the network, three are Archdiocesan offices and locations. That includes the Catholic Pastoral Centre (Toronto), St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica (Toronto) and St. Augustine's Seminary (Scarborough).
Using Video Conferencing and the Cisco WebEx platform, parish locations are able to dial in from a far and attend a lecture, presentation or communicate back and forth with a speaker in another location, the Chancery or Cardinal directly.
The technology has been used recently by parishes to dial into meetings, to watch Lectio Divina with Cardinal Collins live from St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica, attend Parish Administration Workshops from various corners of the Archdiocese, Formation programs, workshops and so much more.
For Bill Kudryk, a parish volunteer and technology leader at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Oshawa, the technology has been a blessing.
"It's been wonderful seeing the community come together grow with the various events that have happened so far," said Kudryk.
"The parish has grown spiritually and as a community because of the video conferencing hub."
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, together with St. Edward the Confessor in North York, another video conferencing site, have been busy using the technology. On the first Sunday of each month this past year, they've been inviting parishioners and the local community to virtually attend Lectio Divina with Cardinal Collins in their hall. Sessions have included dinner, small group discussion, prayer and listening to Cardinal Collins.
"There will be so many new opportunities for which our parish can be engaged and connected into the life of the Archdiocese," said Fr. Amaral.
"There are no limits to what we can now provide for our parish and the greater community of Brampton."
Parishioners and lay faithful across the Archdiocese will be able to utilize the technology and equipment in future, as more events and departments begin using it to cover the vast geography of the Diocese. Fortunately, that will not replace the one-on-one interaction that makes pastoral work and ministry so unique and important.
For more information about the Archdiocesan Video Conferencing Network and project, please contact the Office of Public Relations & Communications.